3 best trade deadline pitching options remaining with Shane Bieber out for year

The pitching market is already starting, and it'll get hotter by the deadline.
Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers
Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

On Saturday, the Cleveland Guardians got the unfortunate news that Shane Bieber will need Tommy John surgery. Bieber himself was a name that came up in a lot of trade rumors over the winter, but Cleveland elected to keep their ace and former Cy Young winner.

Now that Bieber is out for the season, eyes will turn to other pitchers who might become available at or before the deadline. The rumors have already started, and will likely keep going until the deadline or a move is made. Now that one of the top trade targets is off the board, there will be a few new ones that emerge.

3. Edward Cabrera, Miami Marlins

Amidst an 0-8 start and injuries to Sandy Alcantara and Eury Perez, the Marlins look primed to have a fire sale this summer. They've done a great job at developing pitching over the years, and they have two that will likely get some attention in trade talks.

Cabrera is one of them. A former top five prospect, the 25-year-old is an enticing pitcher. Known for his changeup and his slider, he gained prospect pedigree by using those above-average pitches to strike guys out and has continued that in the majors.

In 20 starts during 2023, the right-hander struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings, with 118 punch outs in 99.2 innings. Despite posting a 4.24 ERA, he showed a lot of promise with his stuff at a young age.

Cabrera will be an interesting name to keep an eye on, not just because a Marlins sale might be imminent, but because he is so young, has good stuff and most importantly, will be under team control for a while. He won't be a free agent until 2029(!), so if the Marlins make him available, a team could acquire a pitcher who could be the future of their staff for years.

There's another pitcher in Miami who is more likely to get traded, but Cabrera's name has come up in rumors. If you couple that with the start to the Marlins season, he's definitely a name to keep an eye on in trade discussions.

2. Paul Blackburn, Oakland Athletics

There doesn't really need to be a qualifier for why the A's would trade their best pitcher, we all know it. They're not trying to win and will likely dump a lot of their best players over the next couple years. Blackburn seems to be the most likely to go this season.

Blackburn is Oakland's best pitcher, but not an ace by any metric. However, given where Oakland is at as a franchise, it doesn't seem as if it would take a lot to trade for the former All-Star. Plus, he's coming off of his best season.

In 2023, Blackburn posted a career high in strikeouts with 104 in 103.2 innings and a 4.43 ERA. He has also not allowed a run in the 2024 season so far, including a six-inning, three-hit outing on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Blackburn isn't the sexiest option by any means, and certainly doesn't have the upside of a guy like Edward Cabrera. Despite that, he will still give quality innings that will likely come at a pretty cheap price. At the very least, he could be a steady No. 3 for a team in need of some innings.

1. Jesus Luzardo, Miami Marlins

Luzardo, like his teammate Edward Cabrera, will likely be on the block if the new Marlins front office decides to blow it up. There was already a report from The Athletic that the Padres were in contact with Miami about the lefty before they traded for Dylan Cease.

Luzardo is coming off a terrific season, throwing 178.2 innings and striking out 208 batters to the tune of a 3.58 ERA. According to Statcast, Luzardo was fifth in all of baseball with a 31.4 whiff percentage A young, hard-throwing lefty with control is always going to be valuable, especially when you consider his ability to miss bats.

He may be more likely to get traded than Cabrera, if only because of how many years of control he has left. He is a free agent in 2027, compared to Cabrera in 2029. That's obviously not the end-all-be-all, but it's something to take into consideration, especially when it comes to trading a young starter.

The lefty has struggled a little bit so far in 2024, much like the rest of the Marlins, but is still top 15 in whiff percentage through two starts. He may be the best pitcher on the trade market and will most definitely have a lot of suitors.

With Bieber gone, the pitching market changes quite a bit. It will develop over the course of the season until the deadline and there will be more players that become available that we might not expect. For now, some of the familiar names from the offseason will continue to come up, but it will take more time to get more names.