The Milwaukee Brewers recently learned that they will be without starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff for most or all of the 2024 season. A capsular injury kept him from pitching during the Wild Card Series and overall he made just 11 starts in 2023. It is unclear what the Brewers intend to do with him for 2024 will be his final year of team control.
Ace Corbin Burnes is in the same contract situation. Rumors regarding him being traded have already begun, but if Milwaukee wants to remain competitive in 2024 then they will need to keep him and accept that they will only get compensated with an extra draft pick when he likely signs a monster contract elsewhere in 2025.
One option the Brewers do have, if they want to make an all-in move for 2024, is to trade for a former 2020 Cy Young award winner who also is entering his final year of arbitration. He would essentially be making up for the fact that Brandon Woodruff would be out for the entire season and would re-equip Milwaukee with a formidable starting pitcher trio.
Could the Milwaukee Brewers target 2020 Cy Young award winner Shane Bieber to make up for losing Brandon Woodruff?
Prior to the 2023 trade deadline Shane Bieber was being mentioned in trade rumors. He then was placed on the injured list and those rumors were squashed. Now that we are in the off-season those discussions may heat up again because the odds of him remaining in Cleveland long term are not good.
One benefit for Milwaukee is that Shane Bieber’s trade value isn’t as high as it previously was. Injuries limited him to just 16 starts in 2021 and 21 in 2023, he is coming off a 3.80 ERA in 2023, and the strikeout numbers are down quite a bit when compared to his breakout 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Any team looking to trade with the Guardians would be responsible for Shane Bieber’s 2024 salary. MLB Trade Rumors has him projected to earn $12.2 MM. Cleveland also is in need of position players, so there is a path in which both sides could benefit from a trade.
This is one scenario that Brewers GM Matt Arnold should be exploring. Depending upon the quality of the player(s) involved it is possible that a trade involving one or two controllable assets gets a deal done.
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