This Chicago Cubs trade target appears to be no longer be likely

The Chicago Cubs remain in search of an upgrade to their starting rotation but the chance of them landing an oft-rumored trade target appears to be decreasing.

Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Guardians
Cincinnati Reds v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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It's been no secret that the Chicago Cubs are in need of an upgrade to the starting rotation.

While the Cubs have a plethora of arms available within their system that are capable of filling a spot in the starting rotation, the team lacks viability at the top of their rotation. Justin Steele should continue upon the success that he had during the 2023 season but the team must replace the production they received from Marcus Stroman during the first half of the season.

While Stroman remains a free agent, there does not appear to be interest in a reunion on the Cubs' side. The long belief has been that the Cubs may prefer to address their need in the rotation via trade with the primary target being Shane Bieber of Cleveland Guardians.

The latest update from Jeff Passan of ESPN, however, would suggest that the Cubs' chances of landing Bieber from the Guardians may not be likely.

"The chances of either Burnes and Bieber getting dealt in the coming months, though, are dwindling. They share a pair of traits that dampen their value: both are free agents at the end of the upcoming season and play for teams planning on contending for division titles."

Jeff Passan, ESPN

It's also likely that there is a degree of leverage trying to be used by the Guardians with regard to Passan's report. A trade of Bieber does not prevent the Guardians from contending in what is an otherwise weak American League Central division.

However, the report should serve as a reminder that the Guardians are not going to trade Bieber for the mere reason of wanting to move him before he reaches free agency next winter. The Cubs have the prospect capital to make such a deal worthwhile for the Guardians but Jed Hoyer has yet to show a willingness to utilize a rebuilt farm system to improve the Major League roster.

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