Just minutes after acquiring C.J. Cron and designating Corey Dickerson for assignment, the Rays have traded starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per a tweet from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Infielder Jermaine Palacios goes to the Rays, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, with Dan Hayes of The Athletic one of many clarifying that Palacios is the only player Tampa Bay will acquire in the deal.
Odorizzi represents the second rotation upgrade for the Twins in two days, after adding Anibal Sanchez on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal on Friday. The right-hander gave up a staggering 30 home runs in just over 140 innings in Tampa Bay this past season, and while his strikeout rate was right in line with his career norms, his walk rate spiked. All of that added up to a mediocre 4.14 ERA, right at league average by ERA+, and just below replacement level by Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR.
Palacios is a 21-year-old infielder who split 2017 between A- and Hi-A ball, clubbing 13 home runs while OPSing .788. Rotoworld prospect guru Christopher Crawford pegs Palacios as a future utility infielder.
This seems like an incredibly light return for the Rays, considering that Odorizzi comes with team control through 2019, and was a well above average starter for the two seasons prior to 2017 before his step back. Odorizzi is set to earn $6.3 million this season.
With Ervin Santana set to start the season on the DL due to middle finger surgery, Odorizzi is set to join a Twins rotation with Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson holding down two spots, with quite a few starters—including Sanchez, Aaron Slegers and Adalberto Mejia—in the running for the two remaining rotation spots. That is, if the team doesn’t go out and get themselves Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb to boot.