With the Cubs' longshot hopes of landing Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto seemingly hanging by a thread, the fact Chicago continues to be connected to Tyler Glasnow via ongoing trade talks with the Tampa Bay Rays feels far more significant than it did less than a week ago.
The Cubs need to add some firepower to the top of a rotation that ranked 14th in the league with a 4.26 ERA in 2023. Justin Steele finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting - but with Marcus Stroman gone, there's a gap in the pecking order before you get to guys like Jameson Taillon and Kyle Hendricks.
Glasnow, due $25 million in the final year of his contract with the Rays, is far from a sure thing. Injuries have derailed his career time and time again and even in a largely successful 2023 campaign, he mustered just 120 innings of work. He brings an overpowering pitch mix and a lot of swing-and-miss, but isn't a guy you can expect 30 starts from.
Cubs seem very likely to explore trade market for impact arms
Still, with Aaron Nola returning to Philadelphia on a seven-year deal, Sonny Gray joining the Cardinals and Yamamoto's rumored asking price pushing $300+ million, it's feeling more and more like the trade market or bust for Jed Hoyer and the Cubs.
As we've talked about ad nauseam, even if Christopher Morel has been discussed as a potential trade chip with the Rays, he'd never be traded for one year of a risk-prone starter, even one with as high a ceiling as Glasnow. But there are definitely other pieces that could be included that makes Morel's inclusion more feasible that could also bolster other needs the team has, as well.
Brandon Lowe, Randy Arozarena and Isaac Paredes have all been mentioned in speculation and rumors this winter - and you can find a way to fit any of them into the Cubs' mix (albeit somewhat imperfectly in some cases). But, for now, the status quo of 'wait and see' seems to be in place when it comes to Glasnow, only adding to the frustration of Cubs fans as a quiet Winter Meetings wind down.