It wouldn't be the offseason without speculation tying the Cubs to a Rays right-hander, right? Dominating our head space and the rumor mill in the same way Chris Archer did for years on end, Tampa Bay right-hander Tyler Glasnow seems likely to be traded this winter - and Chicago could come calling.
We're not going to dig into all the details because, odds are, if you're here, you're well aware of the fact the Rays are a cost-concious organization and Glasnow is set to make $25 million in the final year of his contract. The focal point for Tampa Bay will be unloading that full salary, so the prospect cost to a team like the Cubs shouldn't be too painful when it's all said and done.
Would this trade carry significant risk? You bet. But, sometimes, that risk pays off in a big way - and you need look back to just last winter, when the Cubs signed Cody Bellinger to a one-year deal, betting on a bounceback performance.
The results speak for themselves. The likely NL Comeback Player of the Year might have garnered some MVP consideration had he not missed an entire month with a knee injury. That deal worked out perfectly for all involved and now, Bellinger headlines this year's free agent class of position players in prime position to cash in.
Cubs can't be risk-averse if they won't spend big on top free agents
One could make the case there's actually less risk in a Glasnow trade given the tremendous depth the Cubs already possess in the starting rotation. Had Bellinger not worked out, there wasn't much there in terms of a backup plan, especially in the middle of the order. But should the injury bug take a bite out of Glasnow again in 2024, David Ross still has (based on all indications) Justin Steele, Marcus Stroman, Kyle Hendricks, Jameson Taillon, Drew Smyly, Javier Assad and Jordan Wicks.
On the flip side of the equation, what if Glasnow finally puts it all together and emerges as another ace alongside Steele atop the rotation? Then, if the Cubs add the offensive centerpieces needed, this team quickly goes from a fringe playoff contender to a threat for the NL pennant.