The Chicago Cubs had a fantastic run for a long stretch of the 2023 MLB season. The Cubs were led by the potent infield duo of Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson, along with the power-hitting Cody Bellinger in the middle of the order. Even if they will likely lose Bellinger in the offseason, Chicago still has a formidable batting order as their biggest asset heading into 2024.
While they sputtered toward the end of September, the Cubs have the resources and potential to elevate themselves as one of the serious contenders for the National League Central crown. The front office decided to hire arguably the most coveted manager available in former Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
Choosing Counsell indicates that Chicago is trending towards seriously competing, so they must fortify their pitching before the start of spring training. One option who can be a fantastic buy low for the Cubs is Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber. Despite the injury concerns, Chicago must put a bevy amount of their youngsters to invest on Bieber.
With that, here is the perfect package for Shane Bieber that the Cubs must offer.
Bieber joins the North Side
Cubs receive: Shane Bieber
Guardians receive: Ben Brown, Alexander Canario, Javier Assad, Hayden Wesneski
Chicago will only receive one player in the deal with Shane Bieber as the centerpiece of the trade. He will likely be pitching behind the duo of Justin Steele and Kyle Hendricks, because Bieber had a subpar 2023 campaign for his standards. His velocity and strikeout rate plummeted down to a concerning rate, which will likely be a primary reason on why Cleveland would be hesitant to reward him an extension.
The Guardians are not known to keep their franchise cornerstones for long periods as well, so a trade for Bieber is likely imminent. Coming off elbow inflammation is tough, but Bieber is a former Cy Young winner and two-time All-Star, having the pedigree to flourish in a large market in Chicago. Furthermore, the pressure will not be as intense for Bieber because he will start as the No. 3 or No. 4 starter with the Cubs.
As he starts gaining confidence and finding his rhythm, Bieber has the upside and capabilities of being the No. 1 or No. 2 pitcher in the Windy City. With the Cubs still being quiet in the market, they can use the Bieber addition as a springboard to bolster their pitching staff and even their outfield. Another rumored pitcher for Chicago is Tyler Glasnow, but it seems more feasible for the Cubs to pursue Bieber over Glasnow.
The other franchise seriously pondering on Bieber is the Cincinnati Reds, who have a wide array of options to offer Cleveland. It will be a tough challenge for Cleveland to choose Chicago as their trade partner, but starting with Ben Brown as a top pitching prospect to become the centerpiece of the deal is terrific. The Guardians may ask for Cade Horton, but Chicago must not budge on that.
Brown is a reliable individual who will be in the Cleveland rotation if this trade pushes through before the start of the year. Moreover, Javier Assad will be another fantastic pitcher who the Guardians will be delighted to have in their staff. Two starting caliber guys along with a young outfield stud in Alexander Canario will be a perfect package for the Guardians.
It is not only Horton who Cleveland will hope to get in this trade, but Christopher Morel is another missing name. Morel can possibly be included, but one elite asset must be added to the Cubs if they want him in Cleveland.