Ranking the top pitching trade targets if the SF Giants miss out on Shohei Ohtani
2) Shane Bieber
Speaking of former aces seeking a bounceback in 2024, we present Shane Bieber. While Bieber was noticeably more effective in 2023 (with a 3.80 ERA, 6-6 record, 1-7 strikeouts, and only 34 walks), the 28-year-old ace has lost a small step over the past few seasons.
Bieber's best seasons earned him AL Cy Young honors in 2020. The Cleveland superstar posted the best ERA in baseball (1.63), recorded a ridiculous 8-1 record, and led all of baseball in strikeouts during the COVID-shortened season. Since that time, Bieber has had two top-seven Cy Young finishes (2019 and 2022), two All-Star selections, one Gold Glove (2022), and an All-Star game MVP award.
The longtime Guardian has a unique pitch mix. His 91 mph four-seam fastball is startlingly slow, particularly in the modern-day MLB. However, his elite control paired with his savvy mix of off-speed pitches, including a nasty slider, allow him to dominate without 100 mph velocity.
Bieber will pitch the 2024 season in his last year of arbitration, before entering free agency in 2025. While he will require a massive payday to remain in the Bay area long-term, the Cleveland ace has proven he belongs in the top tier of starting pitchers.
As much as Logan Webb is developing into one of baseball's best young arms, Bieber would join him as co-ace, giving San Fransisco one of the best pitching duos in baseball. This advantage would give them the firepower to seriously contend with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and the rest of the loaded NL West.