Among the fun tidbits you get after the Trade Deadline are the stories of the talks that happened without folks knowing, the players who were surprisingly on the block, and the trades that didn’t happen.
Ken Rosenthal offered up a whopper on that front, with some specifics on what the Cubs and Rays talked about just before the deadline:
Rays discussed creative possibilities in talks with Cubs for Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel. Story: https://t.co/8ack3EBek5
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 2, 2021
A Kris Bryant for Kevin Kiermaier swap would’ve made a lot of sense as a way for the Cubs to “buy” prospects from the Rays (Kiermaier’s contract is one the Rays would like to get off the books), but given the names Rosenthal says were off the table, I don’t blame the Cubs for not going that route. Why “buy” prospects in a deal for Bryant if you’re not even going to approach a top 100 prospect? Bryant for a bad contract and lesser prospects?
The other rumored discussion is certainly more interesting (and again, didn’t happen because the Rays weren’t willing to part with sufficient prospects), but again, I am not at all bummed that the Cubs didn’t trade Bryant and Craig Kimbrel for Tyler Glasnow as the primary return. Note that the conversations took place before it was even reportedly publicly that Glasnow would likely undergo Tommy John surgery – the Rays apprised the Cubs that it was a possibility. But still. I don’t care for that.
Set that suspiciousness aside, and a deal for Glasnow still wouldn’t have made any sense. He’s going to miss most or all of his age 28 season next year, and then he comes back in 2023 for his final year of team control. Glasnow was becoming a STUD when healthy, but now you really don’t know what you’re going to get for the one year you get him. Guys pretty much always come back from Tommy John surgery nowadays, but they don’t always come all the way back to who they were pre-surgery, and they definitely don’t always do it within a year.
Why would the Cubs trade Bryant and Kimbrel for one post-surgery year of Glasnow and non-top prospects? You’d love to have a healthy Glasnow or even multiple years of a post-surgery Glasnow, but just that final year? Eh. That doesn’t sound like a particularly serious suitor to me, especially given the “package” the Cubs ultimately landed for those players in separate deals.
You can read Rosenthal’s piece for more on how the talks went and then how they died down.
I’m glad we got this context, by the way, because it would’ve always left me wondering which prospects the Cubs *could* have gotten from the Rays’ vaunted system. Now I won’t really wonder much.
(As an aside, though: if Glasnow has surgery, given the Rays are the Rays, any chance they try to trade him this offseason so that some other team can pay him to rehab and then take the risk of his final arbitration year in 2023? If so, I would expect the Cubs to be in those conversations, not only because of these past talks, but also because the Cubs *might* be more OK with trading for a guy who is going to miss 2022 than some other teams.)