The Rays dealt Tyler Glasnow to the Dodgers this week as part of a four-player trade, a deal that was contingent on Glasnow signing an extension with Los Angeles — which he did.
Oh, and a guy named Ohtani who pitched for the Angels last season has officially joined the Dodgers — even though he won’t pitch for them in 2024. Maybe you’ve heard something about that.
However, Yamamoto’s impending decision should start a flurry of movement in the pitching market, specifically with three notable trade candidates. Let’s take a look at the position of this market:
Burns is one year away from free agency, and given how much he will drive on the open market next winter, most believe the Brewers will trade him this year, either before or during the season.
Unless Milwaukee chooses the latter, it then finds itself in the playoff race in July, making it that much more difficult to deal with an ace at that point in the season. The Brewers have plans to contend this season, presenting the front office with an interesting dilemma. Would they move Burns now, when teams might be willing to pay more for his services for a full year (not to mention the chance to extend him a qualifying offer), or complete the first half of the season and re-evaluate the situation in July? ?
If Milwaukee tried to move him now, the acquiring team would have to pay a high price — young, controllable arms — since the Brewers are in no position to make a deal. Teams that lose Yamamoto may turn to the trade market, where Burns is the best option available.
The Dodgers have already been very aggressive this winter by signing Ohtani and trading Glasnow, but they also have a need at shortstop. A trade for both Burns and Willie Adams — who is also headed to free agency at the end of the season — could be in play, although Los Angeles is said to be hot after Yamamoto. The Yankees, Braves, Blue Jays and Rangers are among the other teams that could try to deal Burns depending on what happens with Yamamoto.
GM Matt Arnold said he expects Burnes to be the Brewers’ Opening Day starter, but Opening Day won’t last for more than another three months. A lot can happen between now and then.
This group is most likely to be moved, as Cease has already drawn interest from several teams, and sources say they expect the White Sox to move their star this offseason.
Unlike Burns (and Shane Bieber, who we’ll get to shortly), Cease remains under club control for another two seasons, making him a more attractive and expensive trade option. Chicago certainly took notice as the Dodgers jettisoned former top-100 prospect Ryan Bebiot and young outfielder Johnny DeLuca in exchange for Glasnow and veteran outfielder Manuel Margot, although that deal was contingent on Glasnow agreeing to an extension.
Two years off would make for a good comeback for the White Sox. The shutout is coming off a subpar year by his standards, going 7-9 with a 4.58 ERA in 33 starts (177 innings). But he has been healthy and has averaged 176 innings per season since 2021, which is attractive to teams around the league.
Of course, Yamamoto’s suitors aren’t the only ones trying to barter for help in the rotation. Small market teams like the Reds and Orioles are looking to add starting pitching and potentially acquire the draft capital to make such a deal, but the White Sox are unlikely to move until Yamamoto (and perhaps Blake Snell) is off the market.
The third starter available on the trade market, Bieber joins Burns and Snell as previous Cy Young Award winners who could change teams this offseason. Bieber struggled with elbow inflammation in 2023, throwing just 128 innings in 21 starts while missing more than two months before returning to the mound in late September.
The right-hander looked healthy in his final two games of the season, and while he finished the year with a 3.80 ERA, Bieber saw a low strikeout rate and a high walk rate, and he also ranks near the bottom of the league in hardball rating. – Injury rate and average permissible exit speed. Bieber’s fastball velocity has also declined in recent years, from 94.1 mph during the 2020 Cy Young season to 91.3 mph in each of the past two years.
Bieber earned just over $10 million in 2023, and Cot’s Baseball Contracts expects he will receive a raise to roughly $12 to $13 million in his final year of arbitration. The Guardians may opt to retain Bieber to start the season, hoping the 28-year-old can show the rest of the league that his elbow is healthy and boost his potential trade value heading into the summer. But if the offers are attractive to Cleveland, moving Bieber before the season could be viable – most likely? – An option for the club.
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