Chicago Cubs talked Tyler Glasnow, Kevin Kiermaier trade with the Rays

(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Certainly, there was no shortage of rumors swirling around the Chicago Cubs last week. With multiple high-profile trade pieces, including Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez, Jed Hoyer’s club was at the center of the MLB trade deadline drama on Friday, executing a full-blown fire sale in the process.

Now, we obviously know how things shook out. Bryant to San Francisco, Baez and Rizzo to the Big Apple and Kimbrel to the South Side. But it’s always interesting to hear about the deals that never came to fruition – like these two possibilities that tied the Cubs to the Tampa Bay Rays, courtesy of Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic (subscription required). 

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On Friday, we heard reports that Tampa Bay was in on Bryant – which was intriguing in and of itself given the fact the former MVP is making nearly $20 million this year and adding even the remaining portion of that would be no small feat for the small market franchise.

It wasn’t just Bryant the Rays had their eye on, though. Chicago and Tampa Bay discussed both Bryant alone as well as a package that would have sent both Bryant and Kimbrel to the Rays – again, a mind-bending proposal given the team’s unyielding dedication to spending incrementally across the whole roster rather than dropping wheelbarrows of cash on one or two guys.

In the Bryant deal, Tampa Bay would have sent outfielder Kevin Kiermaier to Chicago, along with some prospects. Essentially, this would allow the Cubs to ‘buy’ prospects from the Rays, while taking the rest of Kiermaier’s contract off their hands (he’s due $12.1 million in 2022 and has a $13 million option for 2023 with a $2.5 million buyout on top of the remainder of his $11 million salary this year).

Chicago Cubs: Tyler Glasnow was at the center of this reported rumor

Now, if that hypothetical isn’t quite enough to pique your interest, then try this one on for size. In a proposal that would have sent both Bryant and Kimbrel to the Rays, Tampa Bay wanted to center a return around injured right-hander and former top prospect Tyler Glasnow.

This deal didn’t come together for one simple reason: Chicago wanted higher ceiling prospects included in the deal to offset the inherent risk that comes with trading for an injured pitcher who (we’ve learned in the days following the trade deadline) needs Tommy John surgery.

Which, if you’re the Rays, makes sense. Given your limited financial muscle, the only way you can remain competitive – especially in a division like the American League East – is by having that constant pipeline of high-quality talent. You’re not trading the likes of a Shane Baz, Wander Franco or Vidal Brujan for two months of Bryant – or even two months of Bryant and a year-plus of Kimbrel.

Next. Grading every single trade the Cubs made at the deadline. dark

It’s safe to say that steering clear of Glasnow in a Bryant trade was a smart move on the part of Chicago. If he does, indeed, undergo Tommy John, that means he’s out all of 2022 and will be heading into his final year of team control in 2023. Sure, he’s got a high ceiling and can be dominant when healthy, but you need more than that – or at least more certainty than that – in a trade of a former MVP.