Bryce Harper may or may not be traded in the next 16 or so hours before the trade deadline hits, but we’ll always have this fun little nugget to hold onto: The Cleveland Indians refused to trade Shane Bieber for him.
It sounds crazy, and maybe it is, but it’s also the right thing.
According to Jon Morosi, who broke the earlier story that the Nationals and Indians had “talked” about Bryce Harper, recently tweeted out that the Indians refused to include Shane Bieber in a deal for Harper. The tweet itself oozes intentional leak by the Nationals, who are likely trying to get as much as possible for two months of Bryce Harper as their firesale begins and they set their sights on the future.
I can understand the Nationals attempting this deal, but good golly no. As previously discussed in relation to the Indians sniffing around Manny Machado, one position player is not going to guarantee them a World Series — it doesn’t guarantee anything for anybody. So the idea of trading for one while they already have the division locked up doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, especially if it costs a piece of a potential future rotation.
If you believe the Indians’ window to win is closing, you might be right. Bryce Harper doesn’t hold it open any longer, though. Shane Bieber does. Bryce Harper doesn’t give you more chances to win the American League Central and get another shot at a championship (or multiple championships). Shane Bieber does.
Some other team that needs to a win a division and not rely on — at most — a month’s worth of useful at-bats will gladly mortgage away their future for Bryce Harper. The Indians don’t need to, they are already a World Series contending team with a division all but locked up and a studded rotation. Keep the window open as long as possible.
Whatever side you fall on in this rapidly growing debate, take a moment to laugh at Ken Rosenthal’s ridiculous proposal.