2. Shane Bieber, Cleveland Guardians
The Yankees’ pitching staff doesn’t need a massive overhaul in 2023, regardless of what the rest of the offseason looks like.
Depth is always nice, but Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino and Nestor Cortes are (likely) sticking around, with the team reportedly planning to pick up Severino’s team option for 2023. Taillon is the only member of the 2022 rotation who’ll be on the market; some combination of Clarke Schmidt, Frankie Montas and Domingo German could occupy the back end.
Is that … enough, though? Without Scott Effross and Chad Green ready, will the Yankees really roll the dice on moving Schmidt out of the bullpen? And forget that for a second. Did he really show the necessary put-away stuff to get penciled into a big-league role in any capacity? Montas could bounce back to All-Star status and German’s been fine, but a more established name would be nice, especially if the Yankees want to go monster mode on a budget.
Enter Shane Bieber, who was withheld from Game 5 of the ALDS in part because his shoulder was barking, and in part because the team didn’t want to wreck his future (read: future trade value). Zach Plesac is the Guardians hurler we’ve heard most about hitting the trade market this winter, but what about Bieber, who’s under control for two more years and likely won’t be extended?
The Guardians took the leap in the AL Central quicker than anyone expected this season, and won’t sacrifice short-term success without good reason. But their pitching factory can print out another Shane Bieber quickly, and he’s their best current trade asset, especially compared to Plesac. Don’t be shocked if the Yankees sniff around.