Dodgers enjoying process of 'opening up the curtain' with Glasnow

February 24th, 2024

TEMPE, Ariz. -- When the Dodgers went into the offseason, they knew they needed to improve a starting rotation that just didn’t come through in the National League Division Series against the D-backs.

As president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Brandon Gomes began formulating their offseason plans, they all started with landing Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. But outside of the two Japanese stars, the Dodgers had their eyes set on .

Glasnow came into the winter as one of the most sought-after pitchers on the trade market. The Rays had made it clear that they were likely going to trade him given that he was set to be a free agent after the 2024 season.

Once the Dodgers began to dig on Glasnow, they quickly fell in love with his arsenal. Glasnow was on Los Angeles' radar since he was a top prospect in the Pirates’ organization. Shortly after completing a trade that sent Ryan Pepiot and Jonny DeLuca to the Rays for Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot, the Dodgers gave Glasnow a five-year, $136.5 million extension, locking him up to be an integral part of their starting rotation for years to come.

In Saturday's 7-7 tie with the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium, the club finally got its first look at the tall right-hander wearing Dodger Blue. Glasnow wasn’t at his best, however, allowing one run on four hits in 1 2/3 innings of work.

“Not, I guess, the greatest in terms of execution,” Glasnow said. “But in terms of health and the way the stuff was coming out, it was good. Just worked on some stuff early and getting into the game, and it was not the best result, but I’m happy with it.”

This spring won’t be about results for Glasnow. He has already proven that he can be a frontline starter in the Majors. Last season, Glasnow finished in the 96th percentile in whiff percentage and in the 97th percentile in strikeout rate. His 6-foot-8 frame also allows him to get elite extension, making his pitches that much more difficult to pick up from the batter’s box.

In Tampa Bay, he took over as the ace of the staff going into the '21 season. He was also the Rays’ top option in the postseason, starting Game 1 of the American League Wild Card Series against the Rangers. Over eight seasons, Glasnow has posted a 3.89 ERA while striking out 678 over 529 2/3 innings.

For Glasnow, it all comes down to health. Because of various arm injuries and isolated oblique issues, Glasnow hasn’t pitched in a full season in his career. His career high in innings is 120, which he set last season. Glasnow said he believes a lot of those issues are behind him, especially after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2021.

“For me right now, it’s his body awareness,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said when asked what has impressed him most about Glasnow. “His awareness of his mechanics. And the thing that excites me is that the dialogue with him and [pitching coaches] Connor [McGuiness] and Mark [Prior] has been fantastic. Kind of opening up the curtain, the hood on him. It makes this process of learning each other work quicker. So that’s been good.”

Through three weeks of spring, Glasnow and the Dodgers have had a happy marriage. Glasnow sees a lot of similarities between Tampa Bay and Los Angeles in terms of how the teams present information to pitchers. Glasnow will get one or two more Cactus League starts before he gets the ball for one of the two games in Seoul, South Korea, against the Padres.

“I think the next step [for Glasnow] is volume,” Roberts said. “I think that he’s also being mindful of being a little bit better at managing the running game. And outside of that, for me, he’s a No. 1 [starter] for any team in baseball.”