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The Los Angeles Dodgers signed the best free agent ever earlier this week. But even that didn’t address their biggest need.
The club inked Shohei Ohtani to a record 10-year deal, yet because he’s not expected to pitch until 2025, the Dodgers needed to bolster their starting rotation, which had taken successive hits in recent seasons. Thursday’s trade for right-hander Tyler Glasnow, which isn’t yet official, accomplishes that, adding a frontline starter to the fold.
Here’s a closer look at the deal as reported and what it means.
The deal: Tampa Bay Rays traded right-hander Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot to the Los Angeles Dodgers for right-hander Ryan Pepiot and outfielder Jonny Deluca. The Dodgers and Glasnow then reportedly agreed to an extension worth $135 million over five years.
The runners-up: Glasnow had been mentioned in trade rumours for months, with the Angels, Reds and Cubs among clubs linked to him.
The player: Glasnow is the headliner of the trade, so we’ll focus on him. The 30-year-old right-hander possesses one of the most promising arms in the game but has yet to put together a full season due to several injuries. However, despite missing the first two months of the 2023 season with an oblique injury, Glasnow clearly found his form.
The right-hander posted a 3.53 ERA and 2.91 FIP over 21 starts and 120 innings this past season — both career highs. He produced a monster 33.4 per cent strikeout rate, which placed him in the 97 percentile of major leaguers, and generated a career-high 3.2 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs.
Glasnow underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2021, and the sense now is that his arm is fully recovered and primed for success. The Dodgers certainly believe so, evidenced by the reported contract the club doled out to him.
The fit: The Dodgers’ rotation endured a major blow in late 2022 when right-hander Walker Buehler underwent Tommy John surgery. Then, during the 2023 season, right-hander Julio Urias (who’s now a free agent) was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball after he was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence. Long-time ace Clayton Kershaw was injured and ineffective down the stretch and, as a result of all that attrition, the Dodgers’ rotation was exposed during a NL Division Series sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Glasnow adds certainty to the team’s rotation picture and with Buehler set to return next season, the Dodgers appear to be in great shape. Add Ohtani to the mound mix beyond that, and we’re looking at a scary collection of arms on a team that has made the post-season in each of the last 11 years.
The next domino: Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the most coveted starter on the free agent market and the Dodgers were reportedly a primary suitor prior to this trade. It’s unclear how the deal for Glasnow impacts that, but it’s worth noting that Ohtani appeared at the organization’s meeting with Yamamoto.
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