MLB Warns Teams Off 'Red Flag' Shane Bieber Trade

Bieber Faces Challenges Amid Contract and Health Issues

by Nouman Rasool
MLB Warns Teams Off 'Red Flag' Shane Bieber Trade
© Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Shane Bieber, once a shining star in Major League Baseball, now finds himself at a crossroads, with injury concerns casting a long shadow over his once-illustrious career. The former Cy Young Award winner, known for his precision and dominance on the mound, is currently facing skepticism from MLB teams due to persistent health issues.

MLB analyst Steve Phillips recently highlighted these concerns on MLB Network Radio, emphasizing the serious nature of Bieber's recurring arm troubles. "When you continuously have forearm and elbow issues that cause you to miss time, it's just such a red flag," Phillips noted, echoing the sentiments of many in the league.

Bieber's Declining Performance

At the onset of the 2023 season, Bieber, a stalwart of the Cleveland Guardians, secured a one-year contract worth $10 million. This commitment, however, was tested as elbow inflammation sidelined the 28-year-old pitcher from July through September.

Finishing the season with a 6-6 record and a career-high ERA of 3.80, Bieber's performance, although respectable, marked a noticeable dip from his peak. The 6-foot-3 right-hander's pinnacle came in 2020 when he clinched the Cy Young Award, boasting an 8-1 record and leading the league with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts in a COVID-shortened season.

However, a subscapularis strain limited him to only 16 starts in 2021, and now, injuries seem to be playing an even larger role in his career trajectory. Amidst these challenges, there's still interest in trading for Bieber, who will be eligible for arbitration next season.

Teams like the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds are reportedly keen, but the question looms: can they count on the Shane Bieber of yesteryear? Despite the mounting health concerns, Bieber has flashed moments of brilliance, like his standout performance in the AL Wild Card Game against the Tampa Bay Rays last season, where he delivered 7.2 innings of shutout baseball.

Yet, these glimpses of his former prowess are increasingly overshadowed by his struggle to stay fit. As teams weigh the risks and rewards of acquiring Bieber, his situation serves as a reminder of the fragile nature of a pitcher's career in baseball.

The balance between talent and health remains delicate, and for Bieber, the path ahead is uncertain. His story, reflective of many aces who succumb to injuries, stands as a cautionary tale in the unforgiving world of professional sports.