One of the biggest names on the MLB trade market this offseason is Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow. The Rays right-hander has some of the best stuff in the Majors, but the struggle has been staying healthy. The 30-year-old has averaged 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings in his time with the Rays, with a fastball velocity that sits in the high 90s and a slider-curveball combo that was in the 94th percentile in MLB last year in breaking ball run value. Yet Glasnow pitched a career-high 120 innings in 2023, marking the first time in his eight-year career he made more than 20 starts in a season.
The Rays pitcher is set to make $25 million in the final year of his deal with Tampa — more than twice as much as any other player on the club's roster. Given his cost and injury history, it is likely that the Tampa Bay Rays will trade Tyler Glasnow this offseason.
There will be no shortage of suitors looking to take a risk on Glasnow and his Cy Young-level arsenal. Among these teams is the Chicago Cubs. Chicago is coming off an 83-79 season and is looking to build on a strong base of talent by acquiring some bigger names over the winter. The Cubs have been linked to many big-name free agents this winter, including superstar Shohei Ohtani, but Tyler Glasnow is another player this club is making a strong push for.
The Cubs already have Cy Young candidate Justin Steele, but adding Glasnow would offset the potential loss of free agent Marcus Stroman — who is coming off an All-Star season. Here is the offer the Cubs would have to make the Rays to acquire Glasnow.
RHP Javier Assad and RHP Michael Arias for Tyler Glasnow
While the Rays are willing to trade Tyler Glasnow, the team's greatest need is starting pitching. Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs will be out until the second half of the season as they recover from injury, while Shane McLanahan will be out for the entirety of 2024 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
As for the Cubs, they offer considerable young pitching depth at the Major League level and had the fourth-ranked farm system per the MLB mid-season rankings.
Javier Assad is coming off a strong season as a swingman, posting a 3.05 ERA across 109.1 innings pitched while starting 10 games and finishing nine contests. Assad has a 2.99 ERA in 18 career appearances as a starter. Michael Arias is a 22-year-old Dominican right-hander who is the number 12 prospect in the Cubs farm system. He recorded a 4.09 ERA with Chicago's two Single-A affiliates last season
The 26-year-old Assad had a fastball run value in 2023 of 18 runs, putting it in the 98th percentile among all MLB pitchers. Arias also has a phenomenal fastball that sits in the upper 90s and the youngster struck out 12.2 batters per nine innings in 2023. The Cubs thought so highly of Arias that they protected him on their 40-man roster during the recent Rule 5 draft even though he has never pitched above Single-A.
This deal offers the Rays both an MLB-quality starter with the flexibility to also work in long relief (which the Rays love), as well as an intriguing prospect for the future. As for the Cubs, Chicago gets a pitcher who can be an elite MLB starter — if he stays healthy.