Former GM Jim Bowden suggests Atlanta should trade for Cleveland’s star

Former GM Jim Bowden suggests Atlanta should trade for Cleveland’s Shane Bieber
Writing in The Athletic, the former Reds and Nationals GM says Atlanta should trade two players for the final year of the 2020 Cy Young winner at next week’s Winter Meetings
Free agent action’s expected to pick up at MLB’s Winter Meetings, taking place next week in Nashville, TN. A former MLB GM thinks the Atlanta Braves should land rotation reinforcements while they’re there.

Writing for The Athletic ($), former Reds and Nationals general manager Jim Bowden offered six trades he’d “like to see happen” in Nashville, one of which involves the Braves.

His proposal is Atlanta makes a deal with the Cleveland Guardians for righty Shane Bieber, the 2020 AL Cy Young winner.

Bieber, 28, missed time with an elbow injury last season en route to his worst statistical season since his 2018 debut, with a 6-6 record and 3.80 ERA in 21 starts. Pitching only 128 innings, he struck out a career-low 7.5 batters per nine innings (107 total) with 34 walks (2.4 B/9) and 14 homers (1.0 HR/9).

A two-time All Star who has finished with Cy Young votes in three different seasons, the hope would be health and a change of scenery could help Bieber return to his 2020 form, where he went 8-1 with a MLB-best 1.63 ERA en route to the AL Cy Young. In the shortened season, Bieber led all of baseball in not only ERA but also FIP (2.07), as well as strikeouts (122) and strikeout rate (14.2 K/9). His 5.4 hits per nine innings was the lowest mark in the American League, and his 273 ERA+ led all qualified AL starters in the shortened season.


2024 is the final year of contractual control for Bieber, who made just over $10M in arbitration in 2023 and is projected to make $12.2M in 2024, per MLB Trade Rumors projections.

The return being suggested by Cleveland is odd, though – he has infielder Vaughn Grissom headlining the deal, accompanied by prospect pitcher Spencer Schwellenbach (who Cleveland actually drafted in the 34th round in 2018, but he didn’t sign and went to the University of Nebraska).

Cleveland’s farm system and major league roster is stocked with middle infielders and pitching prospects, and their commonly perceived organizational need is power hitting and corner outfield, which Atlanta would be hard pressed to provide in a trade.

Bowden does acknowledge this, offering that another course of action may be for Atlanta to make a one-for-one trade with a top prospect instead (offering AJ Smith-Shawver straight up) or loop in a third team to provide Cleveland with an outfielder (as Atlanta did in the Sean Murphy trade).

Bieber, from Laguna Hills CA, attended UC-Santa Barbara for college and is represented by Rosenhaus Sports.


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