Blockbuster Trade Prediction Sends $13 Million Triple-Crown Winner to Cubs

Jed Hoyer

Getty President Jed Hoyer and the Chicago Cubs seem to be set on a division championship for 2024, and could swing a big trade to make it happen.

After an offseason of notable acquisitions, the Chicago Cubs seem dead set on winning the NL Central in 2024 and, depending on how the season goes, they could be in line to make a blockbuster trade at the deadline to help their chances.

Considering the fate of one of 2024’s “most intriguing candidates,” Dayn Perry of CBS Sports predicted that such a boost could come in the form of Cleveland Guardians veteran and 2020 pitching triple-crown winner Shane Bieber.

“I’ll say the Cubs land him at the deadline (yes, I’m assuming the Guardians move Bieber even if they’re in contention),” Perry wrote. “Chicago may wind up in a tight race for the NL Central crown, and adding Bieber to a rotation that could probably use some help toward the front end seems like a possibility.”

The Chicago Cubs Are Looking at a Tight Race to the Playoffs

After agreeing to blockbuster contracts for Shota Imanaga and Cody Bellinger, the Cubs emerged as a top-12 MLB spender this offseason.

Current projections from FanGraphs have the Cubs finishing with the second-most wins in their division at 82. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals are projected to narrowly win it with 83 wins, while the Milwaukee Brewers are expected to finish with 80 wins, the Cincinnati Reds with 79 wins and the Pittsburgh Pirates with 77 wins. In short, it could be a tight race, and the Cubs might need a midseason addition to propel them to the top.

Bieber is a compelling trade candidate for any team that’s looking for an edge toward their regular season division championship or a potential playoff run.

He is a two-time All-Star and won the Cy Young in his triple crown 2020 — a season that was truncated due to the COVID-19 pandemic — which saw him lead all of MLB with eight wins, a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts. His numbers diminished in his age-28 season last year, with a 3.80 ERA across 128 innings, but if he demonstrates that he’s bouncing back to begin 2024, several teams could be clambering to trade for him.

What Will the Chicago Cubs Have to Give Up in a Trade for Shane Bieber?

The Guardians might be willing to part ways with Bieber as he’s set to hit free agency after signing a one-year, $13.125 million deal to avoid arbitration for 2024. The Athletic’s Tim Britton has projected Bieber will earn a seven-year, $195 million deal for 2025 and beyond, and his current team might prefer to get some assets in return before letting him test the market.

“Though it didn’t happen this offseason, there’s a distinct possibility that Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber could be dealt sometime around the trade deadline this year,” Steve DiMatteo reported for FanSided.

Perry also noted that the Cubs have the kind of prospect capital that could get a deal done.

“The Cubs’ farm system is deep, particularly when it comes to position players, and they could tap into that depth to land what may be the prize of the deadline,” he wrote.

Among the Cubs’ best position-playing prospects are Matt Shaw, the 13th-overall pick in 2023, James Triantos, a plus-contact second baseman, and Moises Ballesteros, a dual catcher and first base prospect.

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