MLB Rumors: 3 Cubs backup plans if Tyler Glasnow trade is off the board

If the Tyler Glasnow is no longer an option for the Chicago Cubs, here are a few viable backup plans.
Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs
Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Dodgers are discussing a trade centered on Tampa Bay Rays ace Tyler Glasnow, according to new reporting from Ken Rosenthal. That could remove a top trade target from the market. Few teams were more prominently connected to Glasnow than the Chicago Cubs, who would love a top-end starter to fill the void left by Marcus Stroman.

Jed Hoyer and the front office have been fairly aggressive on the free agent front, with Chicago reportedly in the mix for Shohei Ohtani before his ultimate decision to sign with the Dodgers. The Cubs have also been linked to top Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but an unwillingness to engage in a bidding war could hamstring Chicago's ability to land the 25-year-old with three NPB MVPs on his résumé.

Assuming the Cubs want to improve the rotation under new head coach Craig Counsell, however, Hoyer is going to have to sacrifice money or assets eventually. Chicago has an All-Star in Justin Steele, but he can't be the only top-line starter if the Cubs want to seriously aim for the postseason.

Hot take, but the Chicago Cubs of Wrigley Field fame and fortune should be willing to spend money and perhaps pay a few taxes to field a legitimate contender. Nobody manages a bullpen better than Counsell, but that shouldn't prevent the front office from investing in cold, hard talent. More often than not, the quality of a team's starting pitchers has a direct correlation to whether or not that team advances in the postseason.

Here are a few backup plans as Chicago looks to keep pace with a bustling pitching market.

3. Cubs can move White Sox ace Dylan Cease across town

The Chicago White Sox are willing to part ways with 27-year-old Dylan Cease, who finished second in American League Cy Young voting in 2022. He's under team control through 2025 and, while last season was a notable step back, there's ample reason to believe he's at the front end of his prime.

While there are other teams in the mix for Cease — most prominently his hometown Braves — the Cubs make a lot of sense. First, he's a significantly cheaper option than the top free agents in terms of dollar value, and he's not in the final year of his contract. Second, Cease wouldn't have to move. The player doesn't necessarily get a say in trade talks, but one has to imagine Cease would feel good about staying in the same city and winning more games.

Cease finished last season 7-9 in 33 starts for the White Sox, posting a 4.58 ERA and 1.418 WHIP with 214 strikeouts in 177.0 innings pitched. He's a verifiable workhorse, but the Cubs would hope his performance skews toward his 2.20 ERA in 2022, rather than last season's prominent inconsistency.

Even in a down season, however, Cease managed a healthy volume of strikeouts. His 31.0 percent whiff rate (81st percentile per Baseball Savant) and 6.2 percent barrel rate (78th percentile) paint the portrait of a pitcher who can overpower batters with 95.6 MPH velocity and keep swings off the mark. Cease still allowed a few too many extra-base hits in 2023, but there are positive indicators and a prior Cy Young-worthy season to bank on. That, combined with the upward mobility of youth and a favorable contract situation, makes him a great target for the Cubs.