After igniting the hot stove with the record signing of Shohei Ohtani, the Dodgers are on the verge of landing one of the best starting pitchers available this offseason: Tyler Glasnow.
Like Ohtani, Glasnow isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
The Rays have agreed to a deal to send Glasnow and veteran outfielder Manuel Margot to Los Angeles for young starter Ryan Pepiot and outfielder Johnny DeLuca, sources told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand following Glasno’s signing of a contract extension with Los Angeles. ESPN’s Jeff Basson reported The two sides have agreed to a deal for five years and $135 million. The clubs have not confirmed the trade.
The Dodgers made their biggest move of the offseason by signing Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million deal, but since the two-way star isn’t expected to pitch until 2025, they still had to address a front-line starting pitching need. They did so by targeting Glasnow, who is due $25 million next year in the final year of a back-loaded extension he signed with the Rays through late 2022.
Instead of looking to hire Glasnow, however, the Dodgers are trying to lock up the 30-year-old right-hander — a Southern California native who attended nearby Hart High School — for years to come.
Acquiring Glasnow would come at a steep cost in Pepiot, a former top 100 prospect who could effectively fill Glasnow’s spot with the Rays and join an intriguing group of young starters in Tampa Bay’s rotation. In the long run, this could be a move that benefits both clubs. For now, the Dodgers are looking to acquire a pair of more proven players, while the Rays are betting on younger replacements.
Glasnow, 30, has often flashed some electric stuff in baseball, but has been limited by injuries since joining the Rays in a blockbuster 2018 trade deadline deal with the Pirates. When he’s on the mound, he dominates hitters with a high-octane fastball and two swing-and-miss breaking balls. Both sides of the coin were on display last season.
Glasnow entered spring training fully healthy and missed the first two months of the season with a left oblique strain. It took him a few starts to find his form, and then he posted a 3.14 ERA with 129 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .204/.255/.310 slash line in 94 2/3 innings over his final 16 regular-season starts. He finished the year with 120 innings pitched over 21 starts, both career highs.
Glasnow was previously sidelined in 2019 with a forearm/elbow injury and then underwent Tommy John surgery in ’21. If healthy, he would be a big boost to a Dodgers rotation that currently features Walker Buehler (who missed all of last season), former Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough and young arms like Bobby Miller and Emmett Sheehan.
Of course, the Dodgers are said to be pursuing Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and could bring back Clayton Kershaw, who is recovering from left shoulder surgery this offseason.
Margot, 29, fits in well with the Dodgers, especially as a platoon partner with veteran outfielder Jason Heyward. A right-handed hitter used primarily against lefties, Margot can play all three outfield spots efficiently. He is due $10 million next season with a $12 million club option for 2025 (or a $2 million buyout). He hit .281/.341/.420 against left-handed pitchers, compared to .244/.294/. .370 slash line against righties.
If everyone is brought back next season, the Rays’ projected payroll will surpass franchise-record territory. Bringing in MLB-ready talent allows the Rays to rebuild their roster, with an eye on the present and the future, without taking a big step back in terms of competitiveness.
Pepiot, 26, has posted a 2.76 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings over 17 outings for the Dodgers over the past two seasons. He is not yet salary arbitration eligible and will remain in club control until the 2028 season, making him not only a short-term replacement for Glasno, but also a long-term option should the deal go through.
The Rays have plenty of candidates to start their rotation next season, with Zach Eflin joining Aaron Sivale, Jack Littell and young starters Taj Bradley, Shane Bass and Jacob Lopez. But they should be close to full strength by 2025, and they expect Shane McClanahan to return from Tommy John surgery after the mid-to-late ’24 returns of Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen. There is understandable appeal in adding a young arm like Pepiot to that mix.
DeLuca, 25, has the profile of a less experienced Margot: a right-handed hitter who has played all three outfield spots. He made his big league debut in 2023, hitting .262/.311/.429 with two homers in 45 plate appearances. He produced a .956 OPS over 73 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
The Rays have two everyday outfielders in Jose Siri and Randy Arosarena, and two left-handed-hitting regulars in Josh Lowe and Luke Reilly.