#1 - Tyler Glasnow (Tampa Bay Rays)
I covered three new trade ideas for Tyler Glasnow on Saturday, as the fit here for the Cardinals continues to make more and more sense.
The Cardinals have a strong interest in Glasnow and have been planning to talk about a potential deal with the Rays for months now. Glasnow is in the last year of his contract with the Rays and set to make $25 million in 2024, which would be a franchise-record salary if the Rays choose to keep him on the roster. The Rays have never been shy about moving on from star talent before they lose them to free agency, even when they are contending (see Blake Snell).
Glasnow made 21 starts in 2023, throwing 120 innings with a 3.53 ERA and an insane 12.2 SO/9. There's an arguement that he has the best stuff among all starters in baseball, and I covered some of his insane metrics in my trade ideas piece.
The injury concerns with Glasnow are real, but the potential with him is too great to pass on for the price point. For the Rays, they have the opportunity to free up cash flow while getting a few assets in return. The acquiring team will take on his contract, and depending on how much of it they acquire, the return the Rays can expect will be substantially lower than what a front-line starter is typically worth.
The risk-reward here for St. Louis is actually a lot lower than many make it out to be. If Glasnow misses significant time during the season, they only gave up minor pieces to acquire him. No matter how he does for the Cardinals in 2024, they can extend a qualifying offer to him and receive an extra draft pick in 2025, which will bring them back a lot of that value they gave up. I'd have to imagine Glasnow is motivated to have a huge year and cash in big time this coming offseason.
If all goes well, they can look to extend him following the season, or if his market does not materialize in a loaded 2025 free-agent pitching market, he may come back on the qualifying offer, which is great value for a guy like Glasnow.
Even if the Cardinals only get 20-25 starts from Glasnow in 2024, they are getting a guy who can go toe to toe with any pitcher in baseball every time he's on the mound. That's something they have not had in their rotation for a long time. He's also been available for the Rays' postseason runs the last few years, which is what will matter to the Cardinals most this coming year.
The Cardinals should be on the phone with the Rays non-stop until a deal gets done. With so many other starting pitchers available via trade this offseason, the market for him won't be as crazy as it could be, and the Cardinals may be the best positioned team either way to make a deal.