Yankees Named as Potential Landing Spot in Trade for Cy Young Award Winner

Shane Bieber

Getty The Yankees could be a potential fit for Shane Bieber if he was traded

The New York Yankees starting pitching took a hit when Gerrit Cole suffered an elbow injury in spring training. Cole was announced to miss “one to two months,” according to the New York Post’s Jon Heyman. The Yankees were named as a potential fit for Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber, according to Bleacher Report’s Zachary D. Rymer.

The Yankees were involved in the sweepstakes for Blake Snell earlier in the offseason. They also made an offer for Dylan Cease to the Chicago White Sox. Ultimately, Snell agreed to a two-year, $62 million deal with the San Francisco Giants on March 18. Cease was traded to the San Diego Padres on March 13.

The Yankees were unable to add a top-end starter after Cole’s injury, but they could still acquire one through an in-season trade. If acquired, Bieber would bring another Cy Young Award winning arm to the Bronx.

Bieber Would Bolster the Yankees Rotation

Bieber won the American League Cy Young Award in 2020. In 2020, he led the majors with eight wins and a 1.63 ERA. While Bieber was an All-Star the following year, he only made 16 starts.

Bieber was involved in trade rumors this offseason, but he was “very unlikely” to me moved, according to Heyman.

“The Guardians’ contention aspirations were part of that, but one can easily imagine that rival executives just weren’t overly motivated to get Bieber,” wrote Rymer in regard to Bieber’s unlikeliness to be traded. “Two of his last three seasons have been cut short by injury, and he didn’t even average 92 mph with his heater in 2022 or 2023.”

Bieber missed time in 2023 with an elbow injury and missed time in 2021 with a shoulder injury. However, Bieber shined in his 2024 debut. Bieber threw six scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics on March 28. He issued just one walk and struck out 11.

“Bieber’s fastball velocity was up 0.9 mph over 2023, but a bigger revelation was a changeup that gained 2.1 mph. That pitch and his slider combined for 13 whiffs out of 18 swings,” wrote Rymer.

The Yankees rotation currently features Nester Cortes, Carlos Rodón, Marcus Stroman, Clarke Schmidt and Luis Gil.

Pairing Bieber with Cole

Cole will not be taking the mound in the coming weeks, but upon his return he and Bieber could be one of the best pairings in the majors.

“Cole said before the game he’s feeling good and hopes to be back around what’s often whispered as the target date for his return, June 1,” wrote Heyman in a March 28 story.

He had thrown simulated games during spring training. He made his lone Grapefruit League game appearance on March 1 and “likened his level of fatigue following outings to what he usually would feel after throwing 100 pitches during the regular season,” wrote MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch on March 16.

The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner was diagnosed with nerve inflammation and edema. He would not require platelet-rich plasma injections, according to Hoch.

Cole’s 2.53 ERA, 15-4 record and 209.0 innings pitched all led the American League in 2023. Bieber made just 21 starts in 2023. He pitched to a 6-6 record and 3.80 ERA. Off to a dazzling start in 2024, Bieber and Cole could do damage together upon Cole’s return.

Bieber avoided arbitration by signing a $13.125 million deal with the Guardians for 2024. He will be a free agent after this seaosn.

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