We're still waiting for MLB's Hot Stove to kick into high gear. It could happen at any moment as we continue to creep closer to the Winter Meetings in Nashville. A lot of attention is on the free-agent starting pitching market thanks to guys like Blake Snell and Yoshinobu Yamamoto being available. But, that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of intrigue on the trade market.
For teams not willing to cough up a hefty price for a free-agent starter, making a trade to augment their rotation is the best way to go. That's something the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs want to do, and it seems like they're both interested in the same available hurlers.
Who are they currently chasing? That would be Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Guardians and Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Reds and Cubs are obviously not the only teams in pursuit of these hurlers. However, they were specifically called out in a report by MLB insider, Jon Morosi, on Tuesday morning:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 28, 2023
But if the Guardians and Rays are trying to contend in 2024, why would they make their respective top-of-the-rotation arms available for trade? First of all, it never hurts to see what a team would be willing to offer. Second of all, Cleveland and Tampa Bay are two low-payroll teams that constantly have to thread the needle when it comes to competing while keeping costs as low as possible.
Bieber and Glasnow are expected to hit free agency following 2024. So, even if they don't get traded this winter, we'll surely see their names pop up in rumors throughout the first half of the regular season in advance of next summer's trade deadline.
Bieber, the 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner, had a smidge of a down year by his standards. He posted a 3.80 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP and 107 strikeouts in 128 innings. That ERA was his highest mark since it settled in at 4.55 in 2018 as a rookie. The upside for interested teams, though, is his expected 2024 salary. According to MLB Trade Rumors, he's projected to earn somewhere around $12.2 million next season via arbitration.
Glasnow had a better 2023, but he'll also come with a higher financial price tag. Through 120 innings pitched last year, he posted a 3.53 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and 162 strikeouts. He'll be making $25 million next season.
The Guardians and Rays don't typically shy away from trading elite players when they feel the time is right. This winter, it'll likely just be a matter of whether or not a trade package proposed to them is enticing enough to pull the trigger.
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