KC Royals fans are hungry and ready for winning ways to return to Kansas City. It cannot get much worse than the 106-loss 2023 season, but it can always get worse. The Royals need to approach this offseason with a clear intent to get better now, not continually looking a year or two down the line. One way that Kansas City can immediately improve the team is by adding a bona fide ace to anchor a struggling rotation. The Royals should evaluate free agency, but the top trade option has to be Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow.
The KC Royals and Tampa Bay Rays could make another shocking winter trade.
The Rays are fresh off a 99-win season, but a quick first-round playoff exit to the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers started this offseason off on a bad note.
The franchise is notoriously stingy when it comes to player payroll, and rumors are swirling that Tampa Bay could trade Glasnow. He is coming off a rebound season with a 3.53 ERA, 1.083 WHIP, and 12.15 K/9. But if the Rays are set on shedding salary, Glasnow is the best start.
He is set to make a team-record $25 million, and the 30-year-old will be a free agent following the 2024 season. His injury history before 2023 and the Rays' history of developing pitchers likely make him expendable in a sense.
This year's starting pitching free agent market is less than stellar, with a wide gap between the top three options and the remaining arms. Glasnow has the pitching arsenal to be a team's ace, without a doubt. Many teams would likely pay him $25 million and more to acquire his services, which makes him a top trade target.
Here is where the Royals come in.
Kansas City desperately needs a good starting pitcher. Glasnow offers them a great one. A similar trade between the Rays and Royals more than ten years ago sparked better days for the Royals franchise. Kansas City sent a hefty prospect package to Tampa Bay for then-30-year-old James Shields. While Shileds only pitched two seasons in Kansa City, that trade was the turning point for Kansa City to win the World Series three seasons after that trade.
Trading for Glasnow, despite his huge salary next season, would finally change the Royals' worst narrative. Kansas City, like Tampa Bay, is seen as a stingy team when it comes to payroll. Frankly, history only proves that point.
If the current ownership wants to prove they are serious about improving the on-field product, pricey moves like this are necessary. They at least give the Royals a chance to improve, rather than just avoid getting worse.
I desperately want this team to address their starting pitching issues with win-now options. Frankly, who knows how good this team could do with a true ace, alongside Cole Ragans and Brady Singer? Adding in Vinnie Pasquantino's return, trading for Glasnow could position Kansas City for significant improvements in the win column. The price would be steep, but this trade is too good for the Royals to not at least consider it.