Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has reported the Cardinals' heavy interest in Glasnow (subscription required) and with the number of teams who are going to be in the bidding for the top free-agent starting pitchers, the Cardinals may find Glasnow to be one of the best options that they could pursue.
Most people are well aware of Glasnow's injury history, but I'm not sure people realize how truly elite his stuff is on the mound. Out of all pitchers who threw 120 innings in 2023, Glasnow ranked first in xFIP (2.75), second in K% (33.4%), K-BB% (25.8%), and SIERA (3.08), third in FIP (2.91), and seventh in batting average against (.208). It's hard to argue against him being the most dominant pitcher in baseball when he was on the mound.
Yes, I get it, when he's on the mound is the big if with Glasnow. If you were asking me if the Cardinals should hand out a five-year mega deal to him or trade their best young bats for him, this would be a whole different conversation. But frankly, the price to acquire Glasnow appears to be insanely cheap, and I see no reason why the Cardinals should not be first in line for Glasnow's services this offseason.
First, Glasnow offers the highest upside of any starting pitcher available this offseason, aside from maybe Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Glasnow's stuff is that of a Cy Young winner, and if he can put together close to 30 starts for the first time in his career, then I have no doubt he'll be in the running for it. The Cardinals need someone of his caliber in their rotation.
Second, as I said, the cost to acquire Glasnow is going to be stupidly cheap. He's one year away from free agency, his contract is $25 million for 2024, and that injury history is real. The Rays can't ask for the moon for Glasnow, but it makes all of the sense in the world for them to let go of their often-injured ace to recoup value.
Speaking of recouping value, the third reason the Cardinals should prioritize Glasnow is centered around how easy it would be for them to recoup value from him. No matter how the 2024 season goes for Glasnow, they could attach a qualifying offer to him after the season, and if he signs elsewhere, the Cardinals will get draft pick compensation. If he accepts the qualifying offer, then they have Glasnow on a one-year, $20 million deal, which is exactly the kind of deal you would want to give to a guy like Glasnow. And if things go well in 2024 for both sides, they can always explore an extension, which would make any of these packages even more worthwhile to part with for St. Louis.
About a month ago, I put together five trade packages for Glasnow, but since the offseason has begun to unfold, I've evolved in my thinking regarding what the Cardinals would need to offer to acquire the Rays' right-hander. Here are three new deals I would send to the Rays if I were the Cardinals.