Yankees should reignite trade talks for Guardians ace after new workout video drops

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Guardians
Kansas City Royals v Cleveland Guardians / Ron Schwane/GettyImages

After poring over new evidence of a healthy right elbow, the New York Yankees should absolutely circle back to the Cleveland Guardians about Shane Bieber before 2024 begins.

Only problem with that strategy? That's exactly what the Guardians want them to do, too.

Ah, well. Sometimes, you can't fight fate. And the Yankees attempting to pry one of Matt Blake's star pupils loose from a small-market team in a walk year is as fated as it gets, as long as they're confident in the right-hander returning to form and being able to eat a season's worth of innings.

After Driveline released a highlight reel of Bieber lighting up the radar gun over the weekend, it feels fair to be cautiously optimistic about that possibility once again. If the Yankees reportedly intend to remain in the prohibitively expensive Dylan Cease talks, the least they could do is reengage on Bieber, too, contacting an organization they're far more familiar with than Chris Getz's White Sox.

Yankees must engage with Guardians on Shane Bieber trade

The conventional wisdom all along has been that if the Yankees wanted Bieber, they'd already have Bieber. Logic dictates that when they dealt for Cody Morris back in December, they easily could've expanded talks and created a blockbuster deal by weaving the connective tissue together between the two franchises.

Something, it seemed, was up with Bieber's arm, after a steep decline in velocity year-over-year between 2022 and 2023. The Guardians' asking price was likely commensurate with Bieber's past and not his future. The Yankees didn't seem keen on revisiting things, settling for Morris, Marcus Stroman, and getting haggled by the Brewers in the Corbin Burnes conversation.

What about now, though? The cerebral Bieber has been under wraps all offseason remaking his right arm, and exceeded his total output of 2023 fastballs thrown above 93 MPH in that Driveline video alone. Sure, it's under controlled conditions. Sure, he's hunting velo. But he's getting to the point of the offseason where he's confident enough in his sculpting work to share that clip, and the Guardians' appetite for dealing Bieber at closer to his peak should now be whetted.

Unfortunately, this mounting evidence that the righty is "back" will only embolden the Guardians to seek a high price rather than sell high. Maybe the Yankees will still have to wait until free agency next winter to pounce, but they should be more comfortable wading into the market now than they were prior to the weekend.