Trade #5 - The "Let's Get Weird" trade
Cardinals receive: RHP Tyler Glasnow
Rays receive: UTL Tommy Edman, LHP Steven Matz, C Ivan Herrera, and OF Tyler O'Neill
This one is really odd and would require both the Cardinals and Rays to be creative here, but as I chewed on this, I think it could actually make a lot of sense.
Glasnow's $25 million would be going to St. Louis in this deal, while Tampa Bay would acquire Steven Matz at $12.5 million AAV, Tommy Edman ($6.5 million projection), Tyler O'Neill ($5.5 million projection), and C Ivan Herrea, who would make the league minimum. That equals out to just under $25 million coming back to the Rays.
As I've talked about already, if the Rays are going to part with Glasnow, part of the reason is going to be to spread that money out amongst other players and to capitalize on Glasnow's value before he is gone. The Rays would be acquiring a total of 11 years of service time for Glasnow's expiring deal.
I could see a lot of reasons that both teams would be disinterested in this deal, but I could also see how they talk themselves into it. For the Cardinals, they would be taking on Glasnow without adding more than $500,000 to their current payroll. It requires them to give up a lot of roster pieces, including two very valuable ones with control in Edman and Herrera, but doing this allows them to go out and spend on two more high-end arms as well, potentially turning their rotation into one of the best in baseball.
11 years of control is a lot for a guy in a contract year with health issues. If the deal was Edman and Herrera straight up for Glasnow, the Rays would be getting a ton of value in return. Throwing in the remainder of Matz's salary throws a wrench into this deal, but I actually think it's one that the Rays would have interest in, especially if it means they get two pieces like Edman and Herrera and get to take a flyer on O'Neill.
Matz has two years, $25 million remaining on his contract at this point. He's battled injuries during his Cardinals tenure, and although he struggled at the beginning of 2023., he came into his own as a pitcher down the stretch for St. Louis before his season-ending injury. The Rays are masters at taking veteran starters and unlocking the best version of themselves, and I could see them doing that here with Matz. While many have deemed Matz's contract as a failure so far, if he even just continued the form that he found late in the season with St. Louis, that contract would be a bargain for Tampa Bay.
For taking on the risk that is associated with Matz, the Rays would get Edman, O'Neill, and Herrera, who are all three guys that could plug into their starting lineup in 2024. Seems like a really nice trade-off for the Rays. This is risky for St. Louis though, as they lose three position players who could contribute in 2024 and a rotatoin piece to an already razor thin rotation.
If the Cardinals really wanted to swing big on their rotation, and if the Rays really liked these pieces from St. Louis, I could see a deal like this getting done. Odds are though, one or both of the sides would have too many question markets with this, leading to a less complicated package if a deal did get done.