The Rays announced Wednesday that righty Tyler Glasnow has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list. Brandon Lowe, already known to be out for the season due to a back injury, was transferred from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL to open a spot on the 40-man roster. The Rays optioned righty Cristofer Ogando to Triple-A Durham to create a spot on the active roster.
Glasnow’s return gives the Rays a high-octane arm to add to the rotation mix both down the stretch and, more pivotally, in the postseason. Glasnow, who tossed seven minor league rehab innings prior to today’s activation, will be capped at two or three in his first start back from last summer’s Tommy John surgery. He could feasibly build up to a larger, less-restricted workload if Tampa Bay can put together a deep playoff run.
A healthy Glasnow unequivocally improves the Rays’ odds of doing just that, as he’d broken out following a trade from the Pirates, finally developing into the front-of-the-rotation talent he was billed as during his top prospect days. The 6’8″ righty started 37 games for Tampa Bay from 2019-21, pitching to a 2.80 ERA with a massive 35.9% strikeout rate and solid 7.8% walk rate over the life of 206 innings. The only pitchers in baseball with a higher strikeout rate during that three-year stretch were Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom, and only Shane Bieber had a higher percentage of combined called and swinging strikes than Glasnow’s 32.9%.
The Rays and Glasnow came to terms on a somewhat surprising two-year, $30.35MM extension earlier this summer — one that’s reflective both of Glasnow’s injury/missed time and his Cy Young-caliber upside. Glasnow will $5.35MM in 2023, which would’ve been his final arbitration year, representing a modest increase over this season’s $5.1MM salary. He’ll then be guaranteed a $25MM salary in 2024 — what would’ve otherwise been his first free-agent season. It’s the most the perennially cost-conscious Rays have ever paid for a single season of a player, so there’s surely a bit of trepidation on their end of things. At the same time, it’s rare for any player with Glasnow’s service time –and particularly one of Glasnow’s caliber — to sign away just one free-agent year, even on the heels of an injury-wrecked season. There’s some compromise from both parties, and Glasnow said after the contract that he’s “exactly where I want to be.”
The returning Glasnow will now join Shane McClanahan, Corey Kluber, Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs in a formidable rotation. Each of McClanahan, Rasmussen and Springs will be options alongside Glasnow through at least the 2024 season, and the Rays will have several impressive young hurlers to vie for the fifth starting spot next season (barring a free-agent or trade addition). Luis Patino, Yonny Chirinos, Josh Fleming and prospect Taj Bradley will all be in the mix, though their most touted arm, righty Shane Baz, will likely miss all of the 2023 season following his recent Tommy John surgery.