The Chicago Cubs appear to be headed for a rebuild in the eyes of many…except for themselves. The Cubs, loaded with money, are looking to build themselves back up into a World Series contender this offseason, and have been quite aggressive in their quest to do so early on this offseason. Rather than undergo a lengthy rebuild, the Cubs front office believes they can compete as soon as next season.

Based on the 2022 season, that’s a tough claim to fully believe. The Cubs have holes all over their roster after tearing apart their team over the past few seasons, and it’s going to require a lot of work for them to be able to emerge as a playoff contender as soon as the 2023 season. The Cubs will make moves, but it remains to be seen whether or not it will be enough for them to become a playoff contender.

Of course, Chicago is going to be looking to spend money in free agency, but they could also look to swing a trade or two as well to reduce the amount of money they are spending this offseason. Let’s take a look at one huge trade the Cubs could look to make this offseason in an effort to bolster their starting rotation.

Cubs perfect offseason trade

Acquire Tyler Glasnow from the Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays are the MLB’s modern day version of the “Moneyball” experiment. Constantly faced with one of the lowest payrolls in the league, the Rays always find a way to field a playoff contender, and even made it all the way to the World Series in 2020. Tampa again made the playoffs in 2022, but were quickly eliminated in the Wild Card round by the Cleveland Guardians.

The Rays always like to find ways to shed salary, and one of the easiest ways may be to move one of their top starting pitchers in Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow missed most of the 2022 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and while he looked effective when he returned to the hill, Tampa Bay made due without him for most of the season, and may look to move on from him as a result.

When Glasnow pitched last season, he was solid. He only pitched 6.2 innings in his two regular season starts, but he gave up just one earned run over the stretch while striking out ten batters. He also dealt five shutout innings in Game 2 of the Rays Wild Card series against the Guardians, showing that when he’s healthy, he’s one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.

The problem is that Glasnow’s deal is quite expensive for the Rays, especially in 2024. Glasnow will only be making $5.35 million in 2023, but his salary in 2024 jumps all the way up to $25 million. That’s a number that Tampa will likely not be looking to pay, especially given Glasnow’s injury history.

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As we previously mentioned, though, the Cubs have money to burn this offseason, and would be more than willing to take on that contract if they could land one of the top starters in the league in the process. Chicago’s starting rotation isn’t awful, as their top five starters all had ERAs under four, but they lack a true ace to lead them back to the playoffs.

Glasnow can be that ace if he can stay on the field for whichever team he is playing for. If the Rays want to move him, there will be plenty of suitors for his services given how high his ceiling is. And the Cubs, given their needs all over their roster, would be the perfect team to take him on.

At 29 years old, and with the production he’s had when he’s been on the hill, Glasnow could fetch a high price for the Rays. That would likely be a price that Chicago would be willing to reach considering their desire to make it back to the playoffs. Glasnow could be the missing piece to the Cubs rotation, which isn’t a stretch considering how they were probably Chicago’s best unit on their team last season.

Acquiring Glasnow would be a bit of a risk given the price and his lack of availability in previous seasons, but he also has the potential to be a dominant ace that could lead a rotation. Given the emergence of Shane McClanahan, Glasnow isn’t needed as the ace of Tampa Bay’s starting rotation anymore. And given how his deal will spike in price next season, this may be the perfect time for the Cubs to swoop in and pick him up to lead their rotation instead.