On the day that Tyler Glasnow starts his rehabilitation assignment, the 29-year-old right-hander reached a short-term extension with the Rays. Having not pitched in 2022 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Glasnow was set to hit free agency after the 2023 season. That is no longer the case, as the ballclub will pay $25MM for his services in 2024.
Set to make $5.35MM in 2023, this provides a massive salary raise for the flamethrower while buying out a single year of his free agency and allowing him to hit the market at 31 instead of 30. This gives the Rays a formidable three-punch the next two seasons as Glasnow's 6'8 frame and downward pitching mechanics give a vastly different make-up than ace Shane McClanahan or Drew Rasmussen at the top of the Rays rotation.
He has a moving fastball that averages at 97, topping out at 100, and a curveball that sweeps more than most that sits in the mid-80s. On top of that, Glasnow has a third wipeout pitch with his high-velocity slider that had 40 inches of drop in 2021. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported the news over Twitter on Friday afternoon:
It isn't without risks, however, as the Rays make Glasnow their highest paid player in 2024. While the salary for a team like the Rays is high, it's on a short-term pact. The trend of paying premium for prime years to forego the later years that a long-term deal provides has been taking over the market the last number of years. The deal is eerily similar to the one that former AL MVP Josh Donaldson signed with the Atlanta Braves heading into the 2019 campaign. Donaldson had signed a 1-year, $23MM commitment after numerous injury bouts before turning it into his four-year, $92MM contract with the Minnesota Twins.
The idea of these contracts is that the players get the money, but should the injury bug linger, there's no fiscal commitment long-term. For a player coming off of Tommy John Surgery, this is a really strong deal for Glasnow who looks to prove his stuff still plays rather well.
The Rays originally acquired Glasnow alongside Shane Baz and Austin Meadows in the deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018. Once the number one prospect in the Pirates organization, the Rays unlocked Glasnow's ace potential in 12 games in 2019. Between that, the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and his Tommy John shortened season, he'd been one of the Junior Circuit's top arms. In 37 starts since the beginning of 2019, Glasnow has pitched to a sensational 2.80 ERA across 206 innings of work, with 290 Ks to only 63 BB. His 149 ERA+ signifies that he's been nearly 50% better than other arms in baseball over that span when healthy.
Glasnow leaves for Durham tonight for his rehab assignment. "This is where I want to be," Glasnow told Tricia Whitaker. "It's a feeling of comfort and content." We will keep you as up-to-date as possible on Glasnow's rehab assignment. It seems likelier by the day that Glasnow will join the club in September. Without the innings under his belt, Glasnow will be utilized in high-leverage relief roles. Glasnow does have ample experience in the bullpen from his days with the Pirates.
Follow me on Twitter: @TheJameus.