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Report: Dodgers signing SP Tyler Glasnow to five-year, $135 million contract

L.A.’s trade for the star righty was contingent upon locking him up long-term, and it appears that box has been checked.

Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning at Target Field on September 11, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Rays defeated the Twins 7-4. Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

News broke on Friday morning that the Dodgers and Rays had agreed in principle on a long-rumored trade sending star righty Tyler Glasnow to Los Angeles, pending one very important detail: Glasnow, set to hit free agency next winter, had to agree to a long-term deal.

Turns out, it didn’t take long for that box to get checked. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Southern California is set to sign a five-year, $135 million extension.

$27 million a year is about the going rate for someone of Glasnow’s stature; the righty has pitched to a 3.20 ERA since being traded to the Rays back in 2018 and boasts some of the most electric stuff in the entire league. But this deal is still very far from risk-free: Between a forearm strain in 2019, Tommy John surgery in 2021 and an oblique issue this past season, the righty has had a hard time staying healthy over a full season; he’s made just 71 starts over the past six years and has never thrown more than 120 innings in a season. He’s also set to turn 31 in August, and it’s an open question how effective (not to mention healthy) he’ll be as he enters his mid-30s.

None of which comes as a surprise to the Dodgers, of course. President Andrew Friedman has historically been reluctant to hand out this sort of deal to a pitcher. Prior to Glasnow, the only pitcher he’d only paid more than $50 million to during his time running the Dodgers was Trevor Bauer — and that was only a three-year contract. But this was a risk that Friedman and Co. felt compelled to take, and it’s not hard to figure out why: The arrival of Shohei Ohtani, smack in his prime, makes every season take on a new urgency, and Los Angeles was desperate for an upgrade to what is currently a thin and injury-ravaged rotation.

Clayton Kershaw, Bobby Miller and Lance Lynn started L.A.’s three NLDS games this season; Kershaw remains a free agent and will miss at least the first half of 2024 after undergoing shoulder surgery, while Lynn is now a St. Louis Cardinal. With Ohtani on board but unavailable to pitch until 2025, raising the pitching ceiling in October was priority No. 1 for the Dodgers — and it’s hard to find anyone with a higher ceiling than Glasnow. How the team will try and keep him healthy until the postseason is an open question: With Kershaw unsigned, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May rehabbing from elbow surgeries of their own, Walker Buehler yet to pitch in a game since early 2022 and Ryan Pepiot headed to Tampa in the Glasnow deal, L.A. is counting on Glasnow for a lot next season as things currently stand. (As is how this extension will age in 2025 and beyond.)

But there simply weren’t a ton of available options; Blake Snell comes with question marks (and a hefty price tab) of his own, Jordan Montgomery doesn’t seem to have a ton of interest in moving out west and the rest of the free-agent market wouldn’t really move the needle all that much for a team with its sights set on the World Series. Giving up real value for Glasnow, and signing him to stick around for the long haul, is a risk, but there are few teams better positioned to navigate it than the Dodgers.