Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs discussed blockbuster deal at deadline
By Kasey Kuhrts
Now that the MLB trade deadline has come and went, reports of what could have been have started to surface. However, none will be bigger than what was discussed between the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs were in full sell mode at the deadline and ended up dealing Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Craig Kimbrel, Javy Baez, Andrew Chafin, Jake Marisnick, Trevor Williams, and Ryan Tepera.
Although the Tampa Bay Rays weren’t in on guys like Baez and Rizzo, Kimbrel and Bryant were names that Rays fans were getting excited about.
We even mocked a trade that could have brought Bryant to St. Pete, but it looked nothing like the deal that was being discussed by the Rays and Cubs.
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Tampa Bay Rays offer for Kris Bryant
Yesterday, Ken Rosenthal wrote an article laying out the talks between the Cubs and Rays. The Rays were very interested in Kris Bryant, as well as Craig Kimbrel. The Rays and Cubs discussed many options to get those guys to St. Pete. The first involved Kevin Kiermaier.
The Tampa Bay Rays reportedly were interesting in sending Kevin Kiermaier to the Cubs for Kris Bryant. The Rays would have included some prospects in the deal, but the Rays made it very clear their higher-end prospects were off the table. Getting Kiermaier’s salary off the books was a key for the Rays, which is why it would have taken a prospect, or two, to get the deal done.
The second deal, however, would have made waves in Major League Baseball, and potentially caused MLB to step in.
Tampa Bay Rays offer for Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel
In Rosenthal’s article, he says along with the Rays trying to acquire just Kris Bryant, a deal that included Craig Kimbrel was on the table as well.
However, the main piece that would have been heading to Chicago in that deal was Tyler Glasnow. Now, keep in mind, this deal was being discussed before it was announced Tyler Glasnow was likely to need Tommy John Surgery, which would sideline him through at least the 2022 season.
Now, the question remains, how much did the Cubs know? It is safe to say the Cubs had the idea about Glasnow’s injury, which is the main reason the Cubs decided against this deal. But what if they didn’t, and this trade went through. Can you imagine what the headlines would be today?
Along with Glasnow’s injury, his contract situation is in question. As I said, Glasnow will not pitch in 2022, and his last year of club control is 2023, so at best, the Cubs would have been getting one year of Tyler Glasnow, for a half-season of Kris Bryant, and a season and a half of Craig Kimbrel, if the Rays could find the money to pay him in 2022.
This is where Kiemaier’s contract would have come into play. Getting Kiermaier’s deal off the books could have opened the Rays to paying Kimbrel in 2022, but once again the Rays’ lack of willingness to give up highly-touted prospects stopped the deal.
Should the Tampa Bay Rays have given up prospects to get this done?
This is a fair question, is giving up someone like Vidal Brujan, Taylor Walls, or Xavier Edwards along with Glasnow worth it for a half-season of Kris Bryant? Everyone will likely see this idea differently. However, this begs a much bigger question revolving around Tyler Glasnow.
Rosenthal’s report shows the Rays had no issues talking about the idea of moving Glasnow, and now with his injury situation, what will the Rays do with him?
As I mentioned, the Rays will have to pay Glasnow what is likely to be a decent salary to not pitch in 2022, then pay him another decent salary in 2023, in what will be his final year of club control, and ultimately his final year in St. Pete as the Rays won’t have the salary to pay him what he wants.
Do the Rays look harder to move Glasnow this offseason, as they see the writing on the wall, only time will tell. However, this trade that nearly went down between the Rays and Cubs would have changed the landscape of the American League this season.