The baseball world was sent into a frenzy when Jeff Passan of ESPN said that multiple GM's believe Cleveland Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber will be traded at the deadline. As intriguing of a name as Bieber might be for the Los Angeles Angels, Perry Minasian should steer clear from trading for this pitcher.
LA Angels should not consider trading for Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber
When he was at his best, there's no denying that Shane Bieber was one of the best pitchers in baseball. He won the AL Cy Young Award in the shortened 2020 season when he won the pitching triple crown leading the league in ERA (1.63), wins (8), and strikeouts (122). He struck out a whopping 14.2 batters per nine in his 77.2 innings of work.
From 2019-2022 Bieber was one of the better control and strikeout artists in the game, and his 2.91 ERA in 93 appearances (92 starts) was also among the league leaders. Unfortunately, his velocity has dipped in a big way since his Cy Young season, and his overall effectiveness and primarily his ability to strike hitters out has taken a huge hit.
In 2020, Bieber's average fastball velocity was at 94.1 mph. In 2021 that dipped to 92.8 mph. Last season it averaged 91.3 mph. This season it's around that number as it's averaged 91.2 mph. That nearly three mph decrease is obviously a huge deal, especially when he wasn't that hard of a thrower to begin with.
This season, Bieber has a 3.72 ERA in his first 12 starts. He leads the league in innings pitched and he's done a decent job limiting home runs (1.0 HR/9) and walks (2.5 BB/9), but his strikeout numbers have plummeted. He has just 53 punchouts in 75 innings of work (6.4 K/9) after striking out 10.6 batters per nine in his career entering this season.
The Angels need a starter and Bieber would feel like the perfect man to add, but he's not anything close to the pitcher he once was. It's amazing he even has the ERA he has considering the fact that his xERA is at 4.88, over a full run higher.
His walks are up, strikeouts are down, and he's among the worst pitchers in baseball in terms of quality contact allowed. He ranks in the eighth percentile in both average exit velocity and hard-hit rate. He'll cost way more in terms of dollars and in a trade than he's actually worth, and he won't make the Angels much better than they already are.