Dodgers acquire Glasnow, Margot from Rays; Glasnow also agrees to extension

December 16th, 2023

LOS ANGELES -- The record-breaking Shohei Ohtani deal was only the first splash for the Dodgers. Shortly after his introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium, the club struck with its next move.

In a deal that addresses two of the team’s biggest needs, the Dodgers have acquired right-hander and outfielder in a four-player swap with the Rays, the club announced Saturday.

Additionally, Glasnow has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Dodgers for $136.5 million. Sources told it includes a $10 million signing bonus and a $30 million club option for 2028 (or a $20 million player option for '28 if that’s declined).

Dodgers get: RHP Tyler Glasnow, OF Manuel Margot, cash
Rays get: RHP Ryan Pepiot, OF Jonny DeLuca

Glasnow grew up in Santa Clarita, Calif., about 30 miles north of Dodger Stadium. The 30-year-old will slot into the front end of his hometown club’s rotation. His arsenal is headlined by a four-seam fastball that touched as high as 99 mph last season, complemented by an effective slider and curveball.

In eight years in the Majors split between the Pirates and Rays, Glasnow has a 3.89 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings across 127 games. In 2023, he ranked in the 97th percentile in strikeout rate (33.4%) and in the 95th percentile in whiff rate (35.2%), per Baseball Savant.

Injury history is a point of concern with Glasnow, including August 2021 Tommy John surgery. Health has kept him from fully living up to his potential, with the 120 innings he threw last season being a career high; his season debut was delayed until May 27 due to a left oblique strain.

Margot, 29, has primarily been a center fielder, though he has experience at all three outfield spots. A right-handed hitter, he fits as a platoon partner for the recently re-signed Jason Heyward in right field, and he can also back up James Outman in center.

Margot’s career slash line is .255/.309/.385, and against left-handed pitching, it’s a markedly improved .281/.341/.420. Margot is due $10 million next season, and his contract includes a $12 million club option for 2025, with a $2 million buyout.

Adding Margot goes a long way toward bolstering the Dodgers’ outfield, but he might not be the end of their additions. They could use an everyday left fielder -- although manager Dave Roberts mentioned on Friday that Ohtani is open to trying left field once his right arm heals enough from elbow surgery.

What’s quite clear is that the Dodgers will still need another arm or two in order to round out their rotation, which remains on shaky ground due to a bevy of injuries and lack of experience among the starters currently on their 40-man roster -- and they’ve just lost one of their likely candidates by dealing Pepiot.

On the free-agent side, the Dodgers remain among the frontrunners for Japanese right-hander , who reportedly visited Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, with Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Ohtani all on hand to help make L.A.’s pitch. If the Dodgers prefer to go the trade route again, they’ve had discussions with the Brewers about pending free agent Corbin Burnes, and they’ve talked with the White Sox about Dylan Cease (who has two years remaining before he can hit free agency).

Pepiot entered 2023 as the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect and had been slated for the season-opening rotation before he sustained a left oblique strain that caused him to miss most of the season. In 17 games (10 starts) from 2022-23, Pepiot had a 2.76 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and a 153 ERA+, with 80 strikeouts and 32 walks in 78 1/3 innings.

DeLuca, the Dodgers’ No. 20 prospect at the time of his MLB debut last season, slashed .262/.311/.429 with two homers in his first 24 big league games. The 2019 25th-round Draft pick rose quickly through L.A.’s farm system, thanks to his combination of power and speed. He hit 65 homers and stole 58 bases across four seasons in the Minors.

By opting to defer the vast majority of his owed money, Ohtani’s intention was to give the Dodgers as much financial flexibility as possible to build a winning team. So it’s not surprising that the rotation -- far and away L.A.’s most significant need -- was one of the first things tackled. It’s also not surprising that Ohtani was part of pitching Glasnow on signing the extension.