While the Shane Bieber trade rumors have died down lately, those conversations could quickly reignite if the Cleveland Guardians and Seattle Mariners work out a trade.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Guardians and Mariners have had trade talks involving first baseman Josh Naylor. Seattle is in desperate need of upgrading their bats this offseason, and to this point, have only subtracted players from their major league roster.
If the Guardians part ways with Naylor, who hit .308/.354/.489 last season, that would seem to indicate that Cleveland is not pushing all their chips in for the 2024 season. If that's true, trading Bieber could be the next domino to fall.
Guardians-Mariners trade talks could reignite Reds' efforts to land Shane Bieber
Just like the Cincinnati Reds do not have to trade Jonathan India, the Cleveland Guardians do not have to trade Shane Bieber. In fact, there are some industry sources who believe Cleveland will enter the season with Bieber as part of the rotation in an effort to increase his trade value before next summer.
But trading Josh Naylor, one of their top hitters from a season ago, would seem to be a clear indication that the Guardians are looking to retool their roster rather than compete for a playoff spot in 2024.
The Guardians also have plenty of capable starters to help offset the potential loss of Bieber. Cleveland's young stable of Triston McKenzie, Logan Allen, and Tanner Bibee will be leaned on heavily next season.
Shane Bieber will be a free agent after next season, but has been rumored to be intersted in signing a contract extension if he were traded this winter. Following an elbow injury in 2023, many teams are leery of making even a short-term commitment to Bieber, much less signing him to a new deal.
But if the Cincinnati Reds are willing to take on that risk, adding a former Cy Young Award-winner is certainly a way to bolster the team's starting rotation. Having a reliable, frontline starter like Bieber could put Cincinnati in the driver's seat in the NL Central next season.