Cubs might be priced out of a Kevin Kiermaier trade this winter

Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Pulling off a trade for Kevin Kiermaier could prove difficult for the Chicago Cubs.

Last week’s news was dominated by the Chicago Cubs parting ways with both Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora at the non-tender deadline. The front office was expected to make some unsettling yet necessary moves during the offseason, and they set that tone right away.

With skipper David Ross now with just two outfielders on his 40-man roster, is it possible for the team to make a little bit of a splash this winter? Obviously, money issues have been holding the team back from big spending – but they’ll have to do something here.

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The key right now is to save as much money as possible. However, Chicago still has a division title to defend in 2021. If Jed Hoyer isn’t looking to completely dismantle and rebuild, why not test the trade market waters?

Rumors are swirling, and several members on the current roster will likely be mentioned. For the Tampa Bay Rays, a trip to the World Series may not stop them from moving major pieces of their own.

They already saved themselves some money by declining Charlie Morton’s $15 million option. They’re also reported to be shopping ace left-hander Blake Snell, as well – which would represent another major loss.

So could a move involving outfielder Kevin Kiermaier be something Tampa Bay would entertain?

Granted he has several more years left of a six-year, $53 million deal. Which will see his 2021 salary raised to $11.5 million, 2022 at $12 million, and earning $13 million in 2023.

The 30-year-old lefty ended the shortened regular season with 30 hits, three home runs and 22 RBI. Kiermaier, a three-time Gold Glove recipient, made much better contact as the Rays made their second World Series appearance in franchise history.

In 55 at-bats, Kiermaier recorded five doubles, three home runs, and seven RBI while slashing .255/.281/.509/.790. Now those aren’t eye-catching numbers by any means, but it is certainly a step up when you look what the Cubs displayed prior to being swept by Florida’s other baseball team in the first round of the postseason.

Chicago and Tampa Bay are at least familiar with one another. In 2011, the Rays shipped right-hander Matt Garza to Chicago for Sam Fuld, Hak-Ju Lee, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos and Chris Archer.

That trade clearly worked in Tampa Bay’s favor given Garza’s temporary stint with Chicago. Meanwhile, Archer evolved into a two-time All-Star and Cy Young candidate. The Cubs would eventually square off against Guyer in the World Series back in 2016.

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If by some holiday miracle these two salary-trimming teams were to make a deal happen, let us hope history doesn’t repeat itself. But who would be sent to Tampa Bay in return? It seems like a tough match to make on paper given the Cubs’ still-building farm system and lack of young, controllable pieces.