Further Confirmation of Cubs’ Interest in Tyler Glasnow

Though the information itself isn’t new, the perceived urgency with which Bruce Levine fired off a tweet about the Cubs’ talks with the Rays on Tyler Glasnow may say a little something. The style of this particular missive is scattered and frenetic even by Levine’s standards, so I think we’re looking at more than just his limited dexterity here. It has the feel of something composed in haste to get out ahead of any real action.

Maybe it’s all wishful thinking exacerbated by offseason ennui, but I’ve been on the Glasnow-to-the-Cubs train for a while now. You can miss me with all the talk about injury risk, he’d be the best pitcher the Cubs have had in terms of raw talent in a long time. Maybe ever, and I’m not kidding. So while it’s entirely possible he’ll hit triple digits on the radar gun but not the innings count, I believe the reward outweighs the risk.

There are several mitigating factors, the first of which is that I don’t believe this would be the Cubs’ only big pitching move. Adding another arm via trade or free agency provides depth to ensure Glasnow doesn’t have to be leaned on as anything like an ace. Next is that the acquisition cost shouldn’t be very high given the $25 million salary, injury history, and limited control.

The Rays want a young, MLB-ready pitcher to shore up their own rotation while lowering payroll, and the Cubs just so happen to have a couple guys who might fit the bill. Both Hayden Wesneski and Keegan Thompson have struggled to maintain rotation spots, but could be exactly what Tampa wants when it comes to maxing out their stuff. Catching depth might be a target as well, though I don’t think the Cubs would part with Moises Ballesteros in addition to either of those pitchers.

Maybe Pablo Aliendo? I’m pretty bad when it comes to trade proposals, but I don’t think we’re talking a top-10 guy to get this done.

If all you’re going to look at are his innings counts from each season, it’s understandable that you don’t like the idea of acquiring Glasnow. Once you start to apply more layers of context, however, this deal looks a lot better. There’s limited risk in terms of the cost and commitment, so the upside of adding swing-and-miss stuff unlike they’ve had in the rotation for several years would be well worth it.

With the pitching market heating up and the Reds of all teams spurring some of that activity, maybe the Cubs will strike early before making some bigger splashes once we get into December.

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