Tuesday is the deadline to protect minor leaguers from the Rule 5 Draft by placing them on the 40-man roster, which means some teams are going to have to find ways to clear a little room. That’s particularly true for those organizations that operate with low budgets and are thus far more reliant on young, cost-controlled talent. One such team is the Rays, whose projected 2024 payroll of $126 million would be $42 million more than they’ve ever carried.
That likely means parting with an expiring deal or two in order to cut costs, perhaps as soon as possible with another deadline coming later in the week. The Rays have 12 arbitration-eligible players to whom they must decide whether to tender contracts by Friday, making this a pretty big week for them.
The most obvious candidates to be moved are Tyler Glasnow and Manuel Margot since they will combine for $35 million in their final season of guaranteed control. Glasnow will earn $25 million in 2024 after taking home just $5.35 million in the first year of a two-year deal, which everyone believed from the start meant the Rays were just hoping to get him on the mound long enough to generate interest from other teams.
Though he missed the first two months of the season with an oblique issue, the oft-injured hurled logged a career-high 120 innings and put up big strikeout numbers yet again. Though rumblings about his availability have been heard for a while, Jon Morosi made it sound as though there’s perhaps some urgency to the matter when he appeared Tuesday on MLB Network.
“Tyler Glasnow, we know how promising he is and how dominant he can be when he is in form and healthy,” Morosi said. “And yet, he’s getting into these levels of where his earnings are [much higher]. And we know this, that when the Rays look at players and their salaries creep upward, they tend to move on. And I think that Tyler Glasnow for that reason is out there and available today and this week.”
This is probably bad news for anyone who likes the idea of Glasnow pitching on the North Side. If the Cubs are indeed swimming in the deep end of the market for Yoshinobu Yamamoto and perhaps others, it’s unlikely they’d make a trade like this so early in the offseason. Or maybe there’s a way to do both.
As concerning as the injury history is, I see Glasnow as an excellent fit because his high velocity and ability to miss bats are facets the Cubs have lacked in recent years. The risks are mitigated by the limited control, so there’s hardly any downside. Well, other than the fear that whatever prospects the Cubs trade to the Rays would instantly blossom into All-Stars.
I don’t really see Glasnow being moved this week, which probably guarantees it’ll happen right after I publish this. But if he’s still in Tampa and the Cubs miss out on Yamamoto, I could see something coming together.