This figures to be a pretty slow period as we head into Thanksgiving and the dust settles from all the procedural moves last week. As such, we’re left with little other than rumors and speculation for the next few days. Jed Hoyer spoke of the trade market heating up after everyone recovers from their tryptophan hangovers, so here’s to hoping there’ll be some actual news before December gets here.
In the meantime, we’ll just keep obsessing over the Shohei Ohtani saga and whether the Cubs are really a factor in it. Bruce Levine said on Saturday morning that his sources believe it’ll come down to the Cubs and Dodgers, a possibility that may have grown at least mildly stronger with the reported elimination of another potential suitor. As MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer wrote recently, “landing Ohtani doesn’t appear to be within the Mariners’ realistic agenda this offseason.”
Of course, there are still plenty of other teams believed to be in the mix. Depending on who you listen to, the Mets, Giants, Rangers, Red Sox, and Yankees could all engage the game’s most talented player on a record-setting deal.
Rather than slowing the market down as is often the case with the top free agent(s) each offseason, Ohtani is expected by many to make his decision relatively quickly. Assuming that is true, the next big domino to fall might be Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto. He could be posted as early as Monday, opening up a 45-day negotiating window that would close in early January.
That courtship should include a large number of teams, even some unexpected entrants like the Tigers and Diamondbacks, and could thus set the pace of a top-heavy starting pitching market. Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, and Jordan Montgomery would either be very strong consolation prizes or simply more viable targets depending on what teams are looking for. The trade market will also be robust, with Corbin Burnes and Dylan Cease headlining a list of available arms.
Then there’s Tyler Glasnow, who figures to fall in line behind Snell and Chris Archer as high-level pitchers the Rays dealt before their salaries became too burdensome. Their projected payroll of $126 million is nearly 50% higher than they’ve ever carried, so moving Glasnow’s $25 million looks like fait accompli at this point. That could take some of the edge off the fear of dealing with a front office that always seems to come out ahead on trades.
Though initial reports had Tampa looking to move its would-be ace ahead of the non-tender deadline this past Friday, it makes much more sense for them to see how the rest of the market shakes out. With a number of teams looking to add more than one starter, Glasnow could end up being a high-upside addition to a long-term signing. Banking on him lasting a full season would be foolish based on his track record, but plugging him into a staff that already has five or more competent starters could have a huge impact.
I still like the idea of the team that signs Ohtani backing that up with a trade for Glasnow. That’s something like $75 million for the risk of getting less than 120 total innings in 2024, but Glasnow’s contract only runs through next season and Ohtani should be back to the mound by then. Is that a realistic option for the Cubs or any other team? Not really, but there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun during these doldrums.