Rays Reportedly Seeking MLB-Ready SP in Tyler Glasnow Trade

The only player more likely than Juan Soto to be traded in a cost-saving move this winter is Tyler Glasnow, whose $25 million salary accounts for nearly one-fifth of a Rays payroll that is projected to be 50% higher than they’ve ever carried. Dude was as good as gone when he signed that two-year deal for $30.35 million prior to last season, especially after he overcame an early oblique injury to log a career-high 120 innings. For all the red flags, Glasnow could have a huge impact on a team looking to add a dynamic arm to the rotation.

One such team is the Cubs, who had one of MLB’s worst units in terms of velocity and missing bats. I don’t know how long ago this horse actually died, but I’m going to keep whacking away at it until it’s nothing but a puddle of glue. Glasnow would give the Cubs a very different look from a group that consists mainly of crafty hurlers who rely on getting outs by contact, and the combination of injury risk and salary — especially relative to the Rays’ frugality — means the acquisition cost won’t be too high.

According to Mark Sheldon, MLB.com’s Reds beat reporter, the Reds have shown an interest in trading for Glasnow as they look for a quick fix or three. If it seems a bit strange for a relatively thrifty organization to make a move like this, consider that Glasnow could be flipped for prospects if he pitches well in the first half. And if he doesn’t, there’s really no such thing as a bad one-year deal.

But enough about the Reds. The most salient information here is that the Rays are seeking an MLB-ready starter in return.

There are a lot of moving parts to this whole thing, but the Cubs already have at least one such player on the roster and could be even more flexible if they’re indeed looking to add two starters. They are pursuing Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who will command a deal in the $200 million neighborhood to be a long-term ace. Trading for Glasnow would allow them to bridge the gap to 2025 when Shohei Ohtani will be able to take the mound again.

I’m kinda joking there, but also kinda not.

As for the completely serious part, it seems like Hayden Wesneski is exactly what the Rays would like to have in their pantheon of pitching projects. They always seem to get the best of the arms in their system and Wesneski has some of the nastiest stuff you’re going to find. He struggled with consistency last season and got stung way too often by the longball, but the potential is certainly there.

Even more important to the Rays is that Wesneski isn’t even arbitration-eligible until 2026 and is under club control through 2028. That is massive value when added to the cost savings of removing Glasnow’s salary from the books. Javier Assad has the same contractual control, but he’s more of a pitchability guy and doesn’t necessarily fit the Rays’ model for exploiting raw stuff.

The real question is whether and how much more it will take beyond an MLB-ready starter, though it’s hard to see the Rays being able to ask for much given the circumstances. My initial thought had been that a Glasnow trade might come after the top end of the free agent pitching market settled, but all the action in the middle tiers may have chummed the waters enough for a move.

If the Cubs do end up getting in on the action, I have to think it signals a desire to add another more reliable starter as well.

Ed. note: Another potential Rays target is Keegan Thompson, who rivals Wesneski as the kind of pitcher Tampa might be able to work a little magic on.

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