Glasnow, Rays ink 2-year extension: 'Best is yet to come'

August 26th, 2022

BOSTON -- The Rays believe ’s best days are still ahead of him. Glasnow often says he’s enjoyed his best days in baseball with Tampa Bay. So it’s no surprise the two sides found a way Friday to extend their working relationship.

The Rays signed Glasnow to a two-year, $30.35 million extension, keeping their 2021 Opening Day starter under contract for 2023 and ’24. The deal will pay Glasnow $5.35 million next season and $25 million in 2024. The latter figure is the most the Rays have ever guaranteed a pitcher in a single season and matches the most lucrative annual salaries (2028-32) included in the massive extension shortstop Wander Franco signed last winter.

Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said the two sides had been engaged in “an ongoing discussion” about an extension since 2019, Glasnow’s first full season with Tampa Bay. They immediately saw what Neander called Glasnow’s “undeniable” and “Cy Young-caliber” talent, and they quickly came to appreciate how well his personality fit in with their group.

“As much as the talent, there's the person. Tyler's a Ray,” Neander said. “He is everything that we value in a person and a competitor, the right mix of freakish athleticism and freakish goofiness and craziness and likes to have a good time and … just a real delight to be around.”

Glasnow avoided arbitration this spring by agreeing to a $5.1 million deal for this season and would have made around the same salary in 2023, which would have been his final year under club control if not for this extension.

Glasnow has spoken highly of the Rays and frequently mentioned his desire to remain in Tampa Bay, even as he was occasionally the subject of trade rumors while sidelined with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament that required Tommy John surgery on Aug. 4, 2021. Those talks likely would have resurfaced this offseason if Glasnow had been entering his final year before free agency, but now he won’t become a free agent until after the ’24 campaign.

“The biggest thing for me is the relief of knowing, like, I'm exactly where I want to be,” Glasnow said.

The 29-year-old right-hander has spent this season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He began throwing bullpen sessions on July 23 and progressed to facing hitters on Aug. 20. He faced hitters and touched 97 mph with his fastball in a 21-pitch live batting practice session earlier this week and left Friday to join Triple-A Durham and continue throwing live BP sessions.

If everything continues to go well, Glasnow could be nearing a Minor League rehab assignment. How he feels and recovers after those outings will determine whether he pitches in any capacity for the Rays down the stretch this season. The financial security that came with Friday’s news didn’t change that.

Regardless, Glasnow is expected to be fully healthy next season. Now, Tampa Bay can project a rotation headlined by the righty-lefty duo of Glasnow and Shane McClanahan, a pair of hard-throwing starters with elite secondary stuff, for the next two years.

“Just to think about a healthy Glasnow that adds to what we would consider a really good starting rotation as-is, how can you not be excited about it?” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Before Glasnow's injury, and then what McClanahan [is doing], you put those guys together, it's probably hard to find 1-2 punches that are better."

The Rays’ talented young roster and deep Minor League system appealed to Glasnow, as did the clubhouse culture created by Cash and veterans like Kevin Kiermaier and the opportunity to continue working with pitching coach Kyle Snyder.

“It’s always been kind of like, I don’t want to leave yet. Like, I’m not ready to go,” Glasnow said. “If I were to go, I think I would have some like PTSD and maybe root for them if I was playing against them or something. So it didn’t feel like it was time yet for me. It’s nice knowing I’m here.”

When healthy, Glasnow was arguably as dominant as any starter in the game last season. With a new slider further enhancing his 97 mph fastball and nasty curveball, he posted a 2.66 ERA and 0.93 WHIP while striking out 123 batters and walking only 27 in 88 innings over 14 starts. He’s been excellent overall since joining the Rays alongside Austin Meadows and Shane Baz in a 2018 Trade Deadline deal for Chris Archer, logging a 3.10 ERA over 48 regular-season starts.

The Rays believe there are even better days ahead, and Glasnow is glad they’ll be with Tampa Bay.

“Certainly believe that his best is yet to come, and it's been pretty good when he has been out there to this point,” Neander said. “I want to also thank Tyler for believing that our best is yet to come. I think that that mutual belief, that we both have a little more to provide one another, is a big reason why this happened.”