Tyler Glasnow's fragility, high price tag were never worth the gamble for the Reds

The Dodgers and Rays have worked out a trade for Tyler Glasnow contingent on a contract extension.
Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow
Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds were rumored to be targeting Tyler Glasnow all offseason, and with good reason. After watching so many young pitchers collect starts in 2023, the Reds were in need of a frontline starter heading into next season.

But it appears as though Glasnow is headed out west. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly agreed to a deal that will send Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot to LA in exchange for top pitching prospect Ryan Pepiot and outfielder Jonny Deluca.

The deal has yet to be finalized, and is reportedly contigent on Glasnow and the Dodgers hammering out a contract extension. Did the Reds miss out on a golden opportunity or dodge a bullet?

Tyler Glasnow would have been a big upgrade for the Reds rotation

There's no denying that Tyler Glasnow possesses ace-level stuff. Last season, Glasnow posted a 3.53 ERA and struck out 33.4-percent of the batters he faced. According to Baseball Savant, Glasnow's whiff-rate (35.2-percent) was among the best in baseball.

Glasnow's 50.9-percent ground ball-rate would have played well in Cincinnati. Reds fans know all too well that balls have a tendency to leave the yard at an enormous clip when playing at Great American Ball Park.

Glasnow is no slouch. And after watching second-year pitchers like Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft all struggle in 2023, adding a bona fide ace to the rotation would have greatly improved the Cincinnati Reds chances heading into next season.

Tyler Glasnow's injury concerns and salary was too much for the Reds

But Tyler Glasnow comes with concerns as well. Whlie striking out 162 batters in 120 innings pitched is quite the accomplishment, that's the most innings Glasnow has ever logged in his seven major league seasons.

Graham Ashcraft surpassed 120 innings in just his second season, and if you add the number of innings pitched during their minor league appearances last season, Hunter Greene, Brandon Williamson, and Andrew Abbott all surpassed 120 innings of work in 2023.

Glasnow underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021, but was able to return for a couple games during the 2022 season. Last spring, Glasnow suffered an oblique injury that sidelined him for several weeks to begin the 2023 season.

But besides the fragility, Glasnow also comes with a $25-million price tag. That's a steep salary for a pitcher who, while incredibly talented, has failed to start more than 21 games in a season. Not only that, Glasnow is slated to become a free agent next offseason.

While it seems as though the Los Angeles Dodgers are willing to take on the risk of adding more years to Glasnow's stay, that may be unwise. One can assume that contract extension will be in line with what several of top starters are signing for this winter.

There's also the matter of taking on a below-average outfielder in Manuel Margot and surrendering two young prospects. The Reds would've likely had to include some combination of Connor Phillips, Chase Petty, Blake Dunn, or Rece Hinds to get a deal done.

While Tyler Glasnow has the potential to be a star for the Los Angeles Dodgers next season, trading for the right-hander was never worth the gamble for the Cincinnati Reds.