Rays discussing Glasnow trade with Dodgers (source)

December 13th, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG -- After igniting the Hot Stove with the record-breaking signing of Shohei Ohtani, the Dodgers are discussing a trade for one of the best starting pitchers available this offseason: Rays ace

The Dodgers and Rays are in active trade talks, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday, working on a deal that would send Glasnow and veteran outfielder to Los Angeles for young starter and outfielder . But no trade has been finalized, according to a source, and the deal is not complete.

Neither club has commented on or confirmed the discussions. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that changes to the reported framework are possible and a financial exchange between the clubs is “likely,” which is notable given the salaries owed to Glasnow and Margot next year.

The Dodgers made the biggest move of the offseason by signing Ohtani to a 10-year, $700 million contract, but with the two-way star not expected to pitch until 2025, they still must address their need for frontline starting pitching. Glasnow is a natural fit, with just one year and $25 million remaining on the back-loaded extension he signed with the Rays in late 2022.

Glasnow, 30, has often flashed some of the most 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 this past season.

Fully healthy entering Spring Training, Glasnow missed the first two months of the season due to a left oblique strain. It took him a few starts to find his form, 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 over 21 starts, both career-high marks.

Glasnow was previously sidelined by a forearm/elbow injury in 2019, then underwent Tommy John surgery in '21 before returning down the stretch in ’22. If healthy, he would be a huge boost to a Dodgers rotation currently featuring Walker Buehler (who missed all of last season), former Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough and young arms like Bobby Miller and Emmet Sheehan.

Of course, the Dodgers are also reportedly in pursuit of Japanese ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto and could bring back Clayton Kershaw, who is recovering from left shoulder surgery, during the season.

Margot, 29, would also fit well with the Dodgers, specifically as a platoon partner with veteran outfielder Jason Heyward. A right-handed hitter used primarily against lefties, Margot can capably play all three outfield spots. He’s due $10 million next season, with a $12 million club option (or $2 million buyout) for 2025. He is a career .281/.341/.420 hitter against left-handed pitchers, compared to a .244/.294/.370 slash line against righties.

The reported return also makes a lot of sense for the Rays, whose projected payroll would push far past franchise-record territory if they brought everyone back next season. Pepiot, a former Top 100 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, could effectively fill Glasnow’s spot in the rotation. Deluca, 25, has the profile of a less-experienced Margot: a right-handed hitter who has played all three outfield spots.

Pepiot, 26, has posted a 2.76 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings over 17 outings for the Dodgers the past two seasons. He’s not yet eligible for salary arbitration and would be under club control through the 2028 season, making him not just a short-term replacement for Glasnow but also a long-term option if the deal is completed.

The Rays have plenty of candidates for their rotation to start next season, with Zach Eflin joined by Aaron Civale, Zack Littell and young starters Taj Bradley, Shane Baz and Jacob Lopez. But they should be closer to full strength by 2025, when 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 to adding a young arm like Pepiot to that mix.

Deluca made his big league debut in 2023, as he hit .262/.311/.429 with two homers in 45 plate appearances. He mashed in the Minors, producing a .956 OPS over 73 games between Double-A and Triple-A. The Rays have two everyday outfielders set to return in Jose Siri and Randy Arozarena, plus two left-handed-hitting regulars in Josh Lowe and Luke Raley.