© 2024 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bieber injury pauses trade talks and hurts Guardians' chances

Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber watches as Atlanta Braves' Ozzie Albies runs the bases after hitting a home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 4, 2023, in Cleveland.
Sue Ogrocki
Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber, seen here in a July 4 game in Cleveland, is now out with an injury. The timing means the Guardians may miss out on trading him for a playoff push.

The injury to Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber couldn't come at a worse time.

The Guardians were hoping to have Bieber at full strength for another playoff run or be able to trade him for some offensive help. Bieber is hoping to secure a rich contract in 2024. The injury delivers yet another hit to Cleveland's starting pitching in the team's quest for a second straight division title.

"One of the keys last year is that (pitchers) Shane Bieber, Triston McKenzie and Cal Quantrill all made every single start," said Ideastream sports commentator Terry Pluto. "This year, here we are, not even to August, not a single Guardians starter has been able to answer the bell, as they say, for every single start. They've all been hurt at least for a month."

Pluto said Bieber, who received a Cy Young award in 2020 as the American League's best pitcher, was the Guardians major trade asset, and possibly their only trade asset, that could be used to help this year's club. Bieber signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus, known as a tough negotiator in the National Football League, who is looking to expand his clientele in Major League Baseball.

The Guardians offered Bieber contract extensions in the past, but an agreement was never close, a contrast to the deal signed by All-Star third basemen Jose Ramirez and his agency, described by Pluto as more of a family business.

"They did not view Jose as the guy who needed to get a big contract for the agent to look good," Pluto said. "Listen to me on that, because agents keep score just like players. They keep score on the higher contracts they get to use it to get other clients."

With an extension unlikely, the Guardians were hoping to get an attractive offer for Bieber ahead of his free agency year in 2024.

"The closer you are to free agency, the less your player is in value on the trade market," Pluto said. "The farther away, the better. That's why they were hoping to trade him."

But now, as Bieber is shut down for two weeks, everything is on hold. The trade deadline is August 1. Shortstop Amed Rosario, a free agent at the end of this season, has reportedly generated little interest.

"They have looked at this for the last year and a half on Rosario and I've had the top people tell me they are stunned at the lack of value for him," Pluto said.

While Cleveland remains in contention in a weak division, a quiet trade deadline seems likely with the Guardians stuck between buying and selling.

"There's no trade talks probably that's going to come to anything," Pluto said regarding Bieber. "Bieber's contract future is on hold because they've got to see what's going to happen with his arm and, meanwhile, Cleveland's just trying to fill in their rotation."

Glenn Forbes is supervising producer of newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.