The Chicago Cubs have a few needs to fill this off-season. Starting pitching is one of them. They could fill that need via trade with the Tampa Bay Rays or Cleveland Guardians.
Marcus Stroman opted out of his contract with Chicago, so the Cubs are down one starter. Pair that with Drew Smyly, Jameson Taillon, and Hayden Wesneski struggling during the season, which shows the Cubs are in desperate need of some consistent starting pitchers.
There is some good pitching involved in trade talks this off-season, and one example is a very talented relief pitcher. However, the two pitchers that could be traded to the Cubs are Tyler Glasnow and Shane Bieber. Jon Morosi has linked Chicago to both pitchers.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 28, 2023
The Cubs being linked to these two pitchers is great news for the team, but what would they have to give up?
Cubs In Trade Talks for Glasnow, Bieber
What a Trade for Glasnow Would Look Like
The first thing to keep in mind is the salary of Glasnow. The Tampa Bay Rays owe him $25 million for the 2024 season, and it is the final year of his contract. Knowing he would be a one-year rental, the Cubs could be able to hold on to their better prospects in the trade. With what he is owed, the Cubs would have to be willing to pass on some other players in the free-agent market as well.
The other concern with Glasnow is his injuries. He has never pitched more than 120 innings in a season. In fact, 120 is his career high, and that came last season. His career high before 2023 was 111 2/3 innings in 2018. However, despite his history of injuries and low usage, Glasnow would make an immediate impact at the top of the rotation. In his 120 innings last season, Glasnow struck out 162 batters, walked only 37, and opponents hit just .209 off him. In his career, Glasnow has a strikeout percentage of 30.9 percent. He is a dominant pitcher when healthy, but his health seems to always be a problem.
The Cubs should not have to give up any of their major prospects to land Glasnow. With his salary and injury history, Chicago only trading two or three of their minor leaguers seems plausible. One name that could be tossed around a little bit is Christopher Morel. Morel is one of the more well-liked players on the team, but he does not have a clear spot on the field. He is a true utility man, and the ball jumps off his bat. Last season, Morel hit 26 home runs in 107 games and owned an OPS of .821. If Morel is a part of the trade, the Cubs probably would not give up a highly touted prospect. Maybe someone in the 25-30 range on the top prospect list. Kohl Franklin or Pablo Aliendo, for example, would be good prospects to trade.
What a Trade for Bieber Would Look Like
Shane Bieber was once an American League Cy Young winner, and he has made two All-Star games. Even with his history of success, Bieber could run a little bit cheaper than Glasnow. Bieber has two seasons of 200+ innings, but he did miss a few months last season with elbow inflammation. With that, Bieber experienced a dip in some important stats. In 2023, according to Baseball Savant, Bieber saw a career-high in average exit velocity allowed, expected batting average against, expected ERA, and hard hit percentage. Bieber also had a career-low strikeout rate, chase rate, and whiff rate. He was not as good last season, and that definitely hurt his trade value.
What might help the Cleveland Guardians get more out of the deal is Bieber’s willingness to discuss an extension with his new team. Unlike Glasnow, Bieber could turn into more than a one-year rental. However, when it comes to trade value, the Cubs still would not have to give up as much for Glasnow. Morel was mentioned for Glasnow, but the Cubs could get away with just trading prospects for Bieber. Franklin and Aliendo are still in play, but do not expect anybody higher than 17th on the Cubs’ top 30 prospects list to be moved.
Bieber and Glasnow would both help the team in a big way. However, it is all about what the Cubs are willing to give up. Bieber is the cheaper option, but Glasnow might be the better pitcher. No matter who it is, if the Cubs trade for one of these players, the team will be getting a good one.
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