Cubs predicted to land former Cy Young winner via in-season trade

Adding Shane Bieber at the trade deadline would put the Cubs on top of the NL Central.

Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Guardians
Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Guardians / Ron Schwane/GettyImages

With all the talk currently surrounding Cody Bellinger returning to the Chicago Cubs on a three-year deal, it's important to remember how this signing reshapes the trajectory of the team in 2024 and the potential impact it could have on the team's approach to the trade deadline.

Bleacher Report has already looked ahead and made a series of in-season predictions, and for the Cubs, it's former Cy Young winner Shane Bieber finishing his 2024 campaign on the North Side.

Bieber is heading into the last year of his contract, in which he is slated to earn $13.1M before reaching free agency. Chicago seems likely to surpass the first tier of the luxury tax if the team is in contention this summer, and paying the remainder of Bieber's 2024 salary at that point still keeps the Cubs under the second, according to their most recent payroll projection.

Shane Bieber trade sets Cubs up well for a deep postseason run

Currently, the Cubs have Justin Steele, who finished in the top 5 in the NL Cy Young voting a year ago, Shota Imanaga, and veterans Jameson Taillon and Kyle Hendricks penciled into the rotation. Assuming Bieber gets off to a strong start, making a play for him at the deadline would give the Cubs one of the better rotations in the National League for the stretch run and, hopefully, a return to October baseball.

Bieber won the American League Cy Young Award in 2020 with a 1.63 ERA and has notched a combined ERA of 3.22 in the last three seasons. Although metrics for Bieber weren't kind to him in 2023, this coming season can be looked at as a year in which he can bounce back to ace form. Hopefully, he can regain his elbow strength after inflammation sidelined him for over two months last year. If he is back to normal in 2024, expect the Cubs to come calling at the trade deadline.

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