After the developments of this weekend, the Chicago Cubs have a clear need at the top of their starting rotation.
There was some surprise across Major League Baseball on Saturday when starting pitcher Marcus Stroman opted out of his current deal with the Cubs. Stroman was set to earn $21MM in 2024 had he exercised his player option but will now test the free-agent waters.
There does not appear to be a likelihood of the Cubs and Stroman working out terms on a new deal and that leaves a clear need at the top of the team's rotation after Justin Steele.
Even with news of the Cubs picking up starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks' $16MM option for 2024, the second half of last season proved that the Cubs had a void in terms of top-of-the-rotation starting pitchers.
With the money saved from Stroman opting out, it would seem that the Cubs may have more of a reason to pursue Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays. There continues to be speculation out of Tampa Bay that the Rays will trade Glasnow and the Cubs are better suited today to make a deal for the ace than they were before this weekend.
Glasnow is set to earn $25M in the final year of his deal with the Rays and that is a large part of the reason why Tampa Bay is expected to move the starting pitcher this winter. So, for $4MM more than what the team would have had to pay Stroman and an outfield prospect that the Cubs have the flexibility to part with, the Cubs can have a certified ace in Glasnow.
A trade for a starting pitcher such as Glasnow is likely how the Cubs will go about replacing Stroman's spot in the rotation rather than signing a top-tier free-agent starting pitcher.