Rays’ Tyler Glasnow could be on the move; a trades-heavy MLB offseason


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I’m Levi Weaver, here with Ken Rosenthal — welcome to the Windup!

Free-agent bats shortage

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Where might Corbin Burnes end up if the Brewers trade him? (Benny Sieu / USA Today)

Every free-agent class looks a little different. This year (with top-prize two-way player Shohei Ohtani in his own category), it’s more pitcher-heavy.

Sure, top-tier starters Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Sonny Gray are all available, but the next tier down includes some pretty reliable guys — we’re talking Jordan Montgomery, Marcus Stroman, Eduardo Rodriguez and the like.

On the position player front, the pickings are somewhat slimmer.

Sure, there are some stars: Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman and Rhys Hoskins top the list, but even they come with some question marks. Bellinger’s 2023 was a stark improvement over last year, but will he be able to replicate that success? Chapman’s defense rebounded this year, landing him a Gold Glove, but his OPS, after three straight years over .800 from 2018-2020, was once again in the mid-.700s. And Hoskins is returning from a torn ACL and plays first base — not an unimportant position, but certainly not the same as signing a star shortstop or center fielder. (Heck, even Ohtani is coming off UCL surgery.)

After that, we’re very quickly into the echelon of Hunter Renfroe, Teoscar Hernández, Joc Pederson and J.D. Martinez. Good players, but not the sort of splashy signing that you can center a season-ticket sales drive around.

As a result, we could see a few more trades than usual this winter, as teams try to land a big fish or two to bolster their lineups. Juan Soto is the most intriguing candidate, with San Diego perhaps cutting its budget. Would the Mets part with Pete Alonso a year before he hits free agency? And Alex Verdugo seems a likely candidate to depart Boston, says Jen McCaffrey.

Of course, there could be pitchers on the move as well (on the topic of Boston: could it be a good landing spot for Corbin Burnes?) The Brewers and White Sox seemingly entering rebuilds could also add several quality players as possible trade targets.

Jim Bowden has a list of 10 players who could be on the move, including both pitchers and hitters. And for more on another player who may be a trade candidate, here’s Ken …

Ken’s Notebook: Rays could move Glasnow for right price

From today’s notes column:

Brewers right-hander Burnes is perhaps the starting pitcher most likely to get traded this offseason, but Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow also is a strong candidate to be moved.

Even if the Rays subtract Glasnow’s $25 million salary, their 2024 payroll could be a club record. The current estimate, according to FanGraphs, is $126 million. The team’s Opening Day payroll has never been higher than $84 million.

The Rays could shift payroll in other ways if they prefer to keep Glasnow, perhaps by moving outfielder Manuel Margot’s $10 million salary. A suspension of shortstop Wander Franco, who is under investigation in the Dominican Republic for alleged inappropriate relationships with minors, could save the Rays part or all of his $2.45 million salary in 2024 and potentially more in the future; Franco began an 11-year, $182 million contract in 2022.

The expected interest in Glasnow, however, could motivate the Rays to act. Glasnow, 30, has only one year of club control remaining, but a team that acquires him this offseason would be eligible to make him a qualifying offer and obtain a draft pick if he departs as a free agent. Players traded during the season are ineligible for QOs.

The Rays, too, would reserve the right to draft-pick compensation if they keep Glasnow, so they likely would not accept an inferior offer just to clear his salary. Glasnow, who underwent a hybrid Tommy John/internal brace procedure to repair his right elbow in August 2021, should be at full strength next season. He missed almost all of the first two months last season due to a strained left oblique but finished with 120 innings, which probably would have been about his limit in his first full season coming off surgery.

A potential free agent of Glasnow’s quality normally brings back quality prospects at the deadline, and that’s without the possibility of draft-pick compensation. The Rays, then, likely will drive a hard bargain, particularly because Glasnow’s best days might be ahead of him. His elbow ligament first began failing in 2019. He avoided the injury list in the shortened 2020 season but will start next season almost three years removed from his surgery in ’21.

How Bally Sports saga affects free agency

Another factor that could have some implications in free agency: the ongoing drama surrounding Bally Sports and the broadcast rights for a number of teams. You may remember that Bally defaulted on payments for a few teams this year, resulting in MLB taking over the Padres and Diamondbacks broadcasts.

Eleven teams are still broadcast by Bally for the time being, which means their 2024 television rightsholder is tied up in a bankruptcy case. The Twins’ deal with Bally expired after the 2023 season.

As of now, Diamond Sports Group (which owns Bally Sports) says it plans to inform MLB by the end of December which teams it intends to keep broadcasting and which it plans to drop. MLB predictably doesn’t like that deadline — teams need to know what their 2024 operating budgets will be as they navigate free agency.

Evan Drellich has all the details here, but we’ll know more in the coming weeks as the court cases drag on.

Jason Benetti headed to Detroit

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Popular broadcaster Jason Benetti will now be calling Tigers games on TV. (Courtesy of the Detroit Tigers)

This time of year is always a bit of a carousel for front-office members, coaches, managers and players. But we also have some movement on the broadcasting front: Jason Benetti, who has been the White Sox television broadcaster since replacing Hawk Harrelson in 2016, has taken the same role with the Tigers, replacing Matt Shepard.

In Benetti, the Tigers are getting one of the most well-respected broadcasters in the game. His work covering the highs and — let’s be honest — an inordinate number of lows since taking the White Sox job was always among the most watchable in the league. He’s also great on social media with fans. In 2020, he fielded DMs from his followers, asking for messages to send to those followers’ loved ones.

The White Sox were Benetti’s hometown team, but relations had apparently become strained in recent years. Benetti also does national broadcasts — baseball, college basketball and college football — and in his most recent contract negotiations with the White Sox, the team limited how many Sox games he could miss. It’s one more White Sox loss in a year that has seen a lot of them — both on the field and in personnel, as they parted ways with Ken Williams and Rick Hahn, traded away a slew of players, and declined an option on shortstop Tim Anderson.

Cody Stavenhagen has a great in-depth story on Benetti’s move, with good insight into the person behind the mic.

Handshakes and High Fives

The offseason big board is here! Here’s your comprehensive look at every team’s needs and how they hope to improve this offseason.

The Astros will officially announce the hiring of Joe Espada as their new manager today. Espada has been the team’s bench coach for the last six years.

We’ll have Rookie of the Year results later today. For Cleveland’s Tanner Bibee, even a second-place finish would be perfectly acceptable, since it would mean a full year of service time.

Aaron Judge’s influence in the Yankees’ decision-making process is, as Chris Kirschner puts it, “outsized.” We heard it before Game 3 of the World Series, when Aaron Judge said, of himself and Hal Steinbrenner, “We’re working hard; we’ve got a busy offseason.” It was reiterated last week when Steinbrenner said, “There’s going to be changes some people might not consider significant, but (Aaron) Judge and I may because we’re doing this every day.”

Sam Blum talked to Rangers former GM Jon Daniels and former infielder Michael Young about the Angels’ hiring of Ron Washington.

Grant Brisbee takes an in-depth look at Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Recently deposed former Cubs manager David Ross has politely declined an offer to interview for the Yankees’ vacant bench coach job, preferring to look for another managerial position.

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(Top photo: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images)

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