Tyler Glasnow might be out a long time. After the star pitcher was removed from his start Monday night with elbow inflammation, an MRI revealed he has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. That's a devastating development for the Tampa Bay Rays.
A torn UCL usually means Tommy John surgery is next with a lengthy recovery. If that happens, there's a chance Glasnow wouldn't pitch again until late 2022 at the earliest. Rehabbing and praying things don't get worse usually doesn't work for this stuff. It would be a crushing blow to the Rays who currently have the best record in baseball at 43-24.
Glasnow has been excellent this season. He's 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP and is second in MLB with 123 strikeouts in 88 innings. He's the ace of Tampa's staff and the team doesn't have someone else ready to assume that mantle.
Ryan Yarbrough is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, Rich Hill is 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP, and no one else has made more than nine starts. The Rays use openers/bullpen days a lot and obviously can't be compared to other teams, but if Glasnow is out they'll need to find another ace on the trade market.
If Tampa plans on making a run this season, it needs to be searching high and low for a top-tier starting pitcher. Luckily the Rays have the best farm system in baseball to dig into when making a deal. But this might be the year for Tampa to go all-in. A year after losing in the World Series, the franchise could be the favorite to win it this year.
We'll see what develops. Glasnow hasn't had surgery yet, so maybe a miracle will happen. Color us skeptical. If he's done, the Rays have some decisions to make.