Trade Number One
The Chicago Cubs Receive RHP Shane Bieber
The Cleveland Guardians Receive OF Ezequiel Pagan, SS Luis Vazquez, and LHP Jordan Wicks
This trade is going to be the one that makes the most sense so if I’ve lost you already then just know it’s not going to get better.
The Cubs would be trading the players that we have ranked as their 9th (Wicks), 18th (Vazquez), and 23rd (Pagan) prospects in the system in return for Bieber who will be entering his age-29 season and will be a free agent at the end of the year.
Wicks would slot into the back of the Cleveland rotation and replace Bieber’s 3.80 ERA with his own 4.41 ERA. Vazquez blew up onto the scene in 2023 with a .271/.361/.456 slash line with 20 homers across AA and AAA and could find himself in Cleveland as a utility infielder as soon as the All-Star Break. Finally, Pagan would be the exact kind of outfielder that the Guardians seem to always have: a slap-hitting good defender. He ended the season at AA but could start at AAA Columbus considering he was able to consistently put the bat on the ball to the tune of a .298/.378/.401 slash line.
Why the Guardians would say no:
Cleveland has a team built around young pitching and even though Bieber won’t turn 30 until he’s no longer under contract with them, he’s the veteran leader that can show the youngsters the ropes in a division that is extremely winnable if he’s able to get back on track.
Why the Cubs would say no:
Giving up six years of team control of a pitcher that was a first-round pick in 2021 and made his major league debut last season is a tough pill to swallow.
It’s even tougher when you consider that what the Cubs would be getting in return would be a pitcher that hasn’t had a great season since the COVID-shortened 2020 season and they’d also have to toss in a utility infielder and utility outfielder that are close to major league ready.