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The Tampa Bay Rays nearly traded for Kris Bryant and Craig Kimbrel with the Chicago Cubs.
When news of the Rays having interest in these two former Cubs first surfaced in the 11th hour, we had our doubts about small-market Tampa Bay going all-in on these two superstars. However, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported after the fact what players would have been featured in a deal for Bryant alone, as well as a combo deal that would have landed them Bryant and Kimbrel.
Kimbrel was traded first to the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox earlier in the afternoon on Friday, while Bryant was dealt in the final minutes heading into the deadline to the San Francisco Giants.
What would the Rays have had to give up to land Bryant and Kimbrel in a trade with Chicago?
Tampa Bay Rays’ reported offer for Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel is bonkers
Per Rosenthal’s report, a deal for Bryant would have required the Rays parting ways with their longest tenured player in centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier as the focal point of the Cubs’ return package. He is a three-time Gold Glove recipient in Tampa Bay uniform. Kiermaier was drafted by the Rays out of Parkland College in 2010 and made his big-league debut with them back in 2013.
If the Rays wanted to acquire both Bryant and Kimbrel, the prized asset going to the Cubs’ way would have been injured ace Tyler Glasnow. While Glasnow is out for the year and is expected to have Tommy John surgery, he is arguably the team’s best player and was a huge reason why Tampa Bay won the American League pennant last season. What if he was traded to the Cubs?
While the Rays failed in their trade attempt with the Cubs, they were not messing around one bit.