After years of playing in a smaller market, Tyler Glasnow is a great fit for the Dodgers

By | March 7, 2024

A lot has changed since the first time Tyler Glasnow was traded.

He revamped his arsenal, cleaned up his mechanics and reined in what seemed completely untenable control issues. He defied the skeptics who labeled him a reliever and established himself as a viable starting pitcher in the big leagues. He hurt his elbow and missed five months. He pitched in a World Series during a pandemic. He hurt his elbow again and had Tommy John surgery, missing an entire year. He rehabilitated and returned as one of baseball’s most dominant pitchers.

The past decade of ups and downs has prepared Glasnow for the latest plot twist in his career: an offseason trade from the small, underdog Tampa Bay Rays to the big LA Dodgers – the center of the baseball universe – followed by a four-year, $111.5 million extension. In turn, Glasnow’s first days in Dodger blue had a much different mentality than when the Pirates traded him to the Rays in the summer of 2018, a few weeks before his 25th birthday.

“Well, I was bad with Pittsburgh,” Glasnow told Yahoo Sports very bluntly. “So that was the difference.”

He continued, “I didn’t have that much confidence” when I got to Tampa Bay. “I was like, ‘I hope I’m okay.’”

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“When I got traded this time, I was excited.”

This time, Glasnow arrived in his new clubhouse with a much clearer sense of who he is as a person and as a pitcher – and with a heightened level of excitement about his new opportunity with the Dodgers. “I went [to Tampa Bay], and they developed me so well, and I had such a good time,” he said. “That trade went so well that I was excited when I got traded this time.”

Glasnow’s relative comfort on the field at this point in his career has further allowed his off-field personality to embrace the change of scenery — and it doesn’t hurt that Glasnow naturally thrives in new environments. “I enjoy meeting a whole new group of baseball players. I’m like, ‘Can I meet 50 new people?’” he said of his initial feelings after the trade. “It was amazing.”

It also doesn’t hurt that Glasnow brings a great track record of on-field success to his new team, as he wasn’t bad in Tampa Bay. While injuries often limited his time on the mound to moments of brilliance, Glasnow’s electric arsenal has rightly been celebrated for years and proved to be a valuable gamble for a Dodgers team looking to add star power to its rotation.

After returning from the oblique strain that cost him the first two months of the 2023 season, Glasnow was healthy and excellent for the rest of the year en route to a career-high 120 innings. Here are his rankings among the 55 qualified starting pitchers from his first start on May 27 through the end of the 2023 season:

  • 10th in fWAR (3.2)

  • 19th in ERA (3.53)

  • 3rd in FIP (2.91)

  • 11th in Whip (1.08)

  • 7th in BAA (.208)

  • 5th in GB% (51.2%)

  • 4th in K% (33.4%)

Armed with exceptional speed and two different hellish breaking balls, Glasnow’s dual ability to generate whiffs and grounders at elite speeds is exceedingly rare. Last season, he was especially difficult for right-handed hitters: Righty Bats threw a paltry .164/.228/.264 against him, for a .492 OPS, which was the lowest mark allowed by a pitcher who played at least faced 200 right-handed batters. handed batters.

‘I feel like I’m talking to brothers’

In addition to his established reputation on the field, a few other factors eased Glasnow’s transition to his new club. His parents moved to Arizona in 2019, so he had spent a lot of time in the desert before reporting for his first spring training in the Cactus League. Two of his favorite teammates from his Rays days, Ryan Yarbrough and JP Feyereisen, were familiar faces on a Dodgers roster largely made up of new personalities for Glasnow to learn. And as difficult as it was to say goodbye to the Rays — an organization Glasnow is passionate about to this day — it helped that the man running the Dodgers front office was also a Rays alum.

Underscoring how unique he was with Tampa Bay’s front office and coaching staff, Glasnow recently told a story about how he dealt with Erik Neander, president of Ray’s baseball operations, shortly after his trade to LA was completed. Once he heard where he was going, Glasnow wanted to know more about Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who spent a decade in the Rays front office, including many years alongside Neander, before leaving the Dodgers job after the 2014 season GM took on.

“I asked Erik about Andrew, and once I met Andrew, they were like twins,” Glasnow said, adding that the two look eerily similar. “I feel like I’m talking to brothers, so it was such an easy transition.”

In most camps, Glasnow’s acquisition and subsequent expansion would be one of the biggest storylines leading up to Opening Day. But because the trade for Glasnow was sandwiched between the historic acquisitions of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto — not to mention the fact that he was joining a team that already had multiple MVPs and future Hall of Famers — Glasnow is remarkably affected somewhat lost in the shuffle. His early bullpens and live BP sessions in the backfields of Camelback Ranch drew a fraction of the buzz from his new colleagues’ performances in low-stakes practice environments.

Glasnow was already well acquainted with how remarkable Ohtani is, but also had some history with Yamamoto that made him that much more excited to call him a teammate as well. Glasnow’s agent, Joel Wolfe of Wasserman Media Group, also represents Yamamoto, and Glasnow heard how special the right-hander is long before he had any idea they could one day play in the same big-league rotation.

“I looked at his TrackMan data and said, ‘Wow, this guy is pretty good,’ even just looking at that,” he said. “But when you look at it in real life, it is so much more impressive.”

Tyler Glasnow is also impressed with his two new Japanese teammates.  (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)Tyler Glasnow is also impressed with his two new Japanese teammates.  (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

Tyler Glasnow is also impressed with his two new Japanese teammates. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

‘Literally everyone is a great person’

Now that they’re in the same spot, Glasnow says he doesn’t mind the spotlight remaining on his more high-profile teammates, even though he’s completely comfortable with the extra attention that comes with playing in a larger market.

“For the most part, baseball is baseball, right?” he said. “To come here and continue camp, I’m like, ‘Oh, this is the same.’ There are still a few cameras, but it doesn’t feel any different.”

He says he’s felt the difference in the repetitive nature of dealing with a larger volume of media wanting to get to know him better.

“A little funny thing you say in an interview, and then someone might ask about it once or twice. Now it’s the case that every interview for a week is like that that thing. And then it’s a matter of hair,” Glasnow said, acknowledging his much-discussed locks. “There used to be three per month. Now it’s about 50 a month. It’s just those little things.”

“But I don’t mind it either – people write about what they think people want to read, so I don’t really care – it is what it is.”

Glasnow also says he has no problem with the pressure that comes with joining a team that just spent more than $1 billion this offseason. “I’ve come to accept that if you play well, it’s good,” he said. “You play poorly, and people talk nonsense.”

Fortunately, Glasnow has a lot of confidence in the group people the Dodgers have come together ahead of this highly anticipated season – and not just the players. For all the hype surrounding the overwhelming amount of talent on the field, Glasnow is effusive in his praise for the clubhouse community in which he has slowly entrenched himself. He mentioned Jason Heyward – whose physical stature surprised even the 6-foot-4 Glasnow: “He’s a monster” – as one of many teammates who stand out as great people, as well as good ballplayers.

“It is cool. They are all very normal, modest people. Literally everyone is an amazing person. There is not a single person who, like, kind of a bad teammate. And I think that’s been a huge emphasis for the Dodgers. I heard some teams would say that, and I’d say, ‘Sure,'” he said with a skeptical look.

‘But it’s so true. Everyone is solid.”

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