The Dodgers and Rays are in talks about a deal that would send the right-hander Tyler Glasnow And a defense player Manuel Margot Tampa Bay to Los Angeles vs Ryan Peabut And a defense player Johnny DeLuca, As I first mentioned By Jack Azoulay Aaron of MLB Nerds and Bruce Kuntz of Dodgers Digest. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic He hears the same thingWarning that the deal is not complete and that changes to the framework are still possible.
The 30-year-old Glasnow was one of the most rumored trade candidates of the offseason, given his hefty $25 million salary for next season and his proximity to free agency. He is entering the final year of his contract and will hit the open market next winter. MLBTR ranked Glasnow fifth on our early list of the game’s top 25 trade candidates.
Glasnow is a natural target for the wealthy Dodgers, who have a clear need for starting pitching and who won’t care about Tampa Bay’s infielder’s salary. As it stands, Los Angeles’ rotation consists of Pibiot, Walker Buehler, Bobby Miller And Emmett Sheehan, with the fifth position raised in the air. (Ryan Yarbrough, Michael Groff And Gavin Stone Among the internal options.) Buehler will be in the innings count in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery (second TJS of his career). Neither Pepiot, Miller, or Sheehan has pitched in more than 22 big-league games.
Injuries have devastated the Dodgers’ rotation this past calendar year. Longtime ace and current free agent Clayton Kershaw He may still be able to re-sign with the club, but he underwent shoulder surgery after the 2023 season and will be out until at least mid-summer – if not longer. Tony Gonsolin He had Tommy John surgery in August. Dustin May He underwent Tommy John revision and flexure surgery immediately after the All-Star break.
While Glasnow is far from a model of durability, he is undoubtedly one of the best when healthy. The 120 innings last year were actually a career high for the 6’8″ righty, and the 2023 season was only his second in which he even reached 100 frames at the MLB level. Glasnow made a full slate of starts during the shortened 2020 season, but last year’s 21 trips to the mound were still career-highs. He spent much of his big league career on the injured list due to Tommy John surgery, a separated forearm strain and a severe oblique strain, among other ailments.
Originally a fifth-round pick by the Buccaneers, Glasnow was a longtime top prospect in Pittsburgh, but never quite put it together for the Bucs, as he struggled through an up-and-down period before eventually being traded to the Rays alongside Side by side. Austin Meadows And Shane Baz In an unbalanced trade sent Chris Archer From Tampa Bay to Pittsburgh. Like many other pitchers, Glasnow broke out under the Rays’ development and analytics program. In parts of six seasons with Tampa Bay, he pitched to a 3.20 ERA while striking out 34.1% of his opponents for a tidy 7.8% walk rate. He typically operated at above-average ground ball rates and posted a career-best mark of 51.2% last season.
Margot could also become a free agent after the 2024 season — though the Rays (or the acquiring team) also have a $12 million club option with a $2 million buyout for the 2025 season. He is scheduled to earn $10 million in 2024, up to The total remaining guarantee on his deal is $12 million.
The .264/.310/.376 batting line that the 29-year-old Margot posted in 336 plate appearances in 2023 was about seven percent below average, as measured by wRC+ (93), but it was also right in line with the greatest production . 264/.317/.375 he delivered over parts of four seasons with the Rays. Overall, Margot’s slightly below-average offense was an acceptable trade-off for his impressive defense and solid value on the base lanes.
But that wasn’t necessarily the case in 2023. Margot missed most of the 2022 season with a major strain of the patellar tendon in his right knee, and his defensive grades in 2023 dipped to average. Statcast reports that Margot’s range on the court and overall sprint speed are down in ’23, which isn’t particularly surprising to hear for a player who was in his first season coming back from a major knee injury. If he is closer to his pre-injury level, he could return to his status as a positive all-around contributor, but there is no certainty that will happen.
A healthy Margot would be a great fit for the Dodgers roster. Los Angeles re-signed Jason Heyward To handle the bulk of the time in the right field – Mookie Betts He has already been announced as the starting second baseman next year — but Heyward will be strictly platooned. Margot’s right-handed bat produced a career .281/.341/.420 against left-handed pitching. He’s a solid fit at the plate, and if his defense can rebound to previous levels, the Dodgers likely feel they won’t lose much defensive value in trading Heyward for Margot against left-handed pitching. Margot could also be a defensive replacement late in the game Chris Taylor In the left, which is a good insurance in the middle of the field, it should James Oatman Exposure to injury at any moment.
As for the players reportedly being targeted by Tampa Bay, Pepiot is exactly what the Rays typically covet: an MLB-ready player with five seasons of club control who can go straight onto the roster rather than a star-caliber player traded elsewhere. . The 26-year-old right-hander has started 10 games and made seven relief appearances for the Dodgers since his MLB debut in 2022, pitching to a blistering 2.76 ERA in 78 1/3 innings — albeit with some alarming on-base numbers.
Pepiot’s 25.1% strikeout rate is better than average, but his 10% walk rate is also above league average and he was vulnerable to a homer (1.49 HR/9). He was fortunate that the majority of those long balls came with empty bases, but an extreme volleyball pitcher who is vulnerable to homers inherently carries some risk. Fielding-independent metrics like FIP (4.76) and SIERA (4.15) are more downside than Pepiot’s more rudimentary earned run average.
Pepiot works a three-pitch combination — fastball, changeup, slider — sitting at 94 mph with his heater and neutralizing the lefty with an extra changeup. His slider has done well so far in the major leagues, but scouting reports from his prospect days described that pitching as slightly below average, giving him the sense of a two-pitch right-hander who lacks a strong third pitch. Pepiot doesn’t come with the same type of durability concerns as Glasnow, having pitched 128 1/3 innings in 2022 and never hitting the IL with a significant arm injury. However, like Glasnow, he missed several months after opening the 2023 season on the shelf due to a major oblique strain.
Baseball America ranked Pepiot as highly as the No. 55 prospect in the game earlier in 2023, noting that he has improved his previously below-average slider but has done so at the expense of some of the effectiveness of his changeup. Pepiot’s subpar command also lends itself to deep counts and long innings, with BA’s scouting report noting that he often struggles to get past the fifth inning. This isn’t a big deal for the Rays or Dodgers. Both clubs typically have deep bullpen and don’t shy away from starters who face the lineup only twice.
Pepiot is controllable for five more years and won’t be arbitration eligible until the 2025-26 season, which certainly increases his appeal to the Rays. Replacing him with Glasnow would likely be a step down in terms of the quality of each inning, but Pepiot would give them an option in 2025 and beyond, when the Rays have Jeffrey Springs, Drew Rasmussen And Shane McClanahan They are all returning from major arm surgeries.
At the same time, replacing Glasnow with a major league starter (and perhaps eliminating some or all of Margot’s remaining money) would give the Rays the financial space needed to add a free-agent starter (or trade acquisition at a mid-range salary) for the upcoming 2024 season. As it stands, the Rays have Glasnow, Zach Evelyn, Aaron Sevalhighest prior probability Taj Bradley (who struggled during his 2023 rookie pitch) and reliever-turned-starter Zach Little In the expected rotation
In all of this we shouldn’t forget that the 25-year-old DeLuca is putting in a solid effort in his debut. He is manageable for six more seasons and would give the Rays a right-handed bat who can play all three positions in the outfield — similar to the more established Margot. DeLuca logged just 45 plate appearances in his MLB debut last season but posted a respectable .262/.311/.429 batting line in that time. He also converted a combined .294/.390/.566 slash between Double-A and Triple-A.
It’s a flashy production, despite scouting reports on Baseball America And Fan graphs Note that the former slugger is still working on adjusting to right-field scenarios and currently looks like a platoon option. Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs rated Deluca as a below-average linebacker but a solid cornerback option. Deluca is a former baseball player and track star with excellent athleticism who can at least emerge as a competition-based option at all three positions in the outfield, a skill set the Rays have used with great regularity in the past. He also has two years of minor league options remaining, which enhances his appeal.
While it appears there are still some hurdles yet to be overcome, there is some logic to the trade for both sides. The Dodgers will trade a pair of controllable but unproven players for a high-end rotation upgrade and a year or two of a steady right-handed platoon partner for Heyward — one who will likely be more capable of handling center field than a young outfielder with who they will be. Separation. Glasnau is an easy candidate for a qualifying offer next winter, so Los Angeles could receive some modest compensation if he leaves. He’s also a Los Angeles-area native who has signed one extension in the past, so the chance of a second multi-year deal to extend their control seems possible.
Meanwhile, the Rays will convert two short-term assets into MLB spot-on help that can be controlled throughout 2028-29, freeing up money for short-term help in 2024 and potentially adding Pepiot to a 2025 rotation group including McClanahan and Baz. Evelyn, Seval, and Bradley. It’s the kind of trade-off that both teams have been willing to make often — usually with good success, helping both achieve their status as perennial contenders (albeit via vastly different methodologies).
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