A quiet Saturday in Major League Baseball took a crazy turn as the Minnesota Twins reportedly acquired starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times was the first to report a deal was in place. Shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios will be the lone player heading back to Tampa Bay, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The trade nets Minnesota the frontline starter they’ve reportedly been seeking all winter. The team was connected to several big names in free agency, but elected not to spend big money on a Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta. Instead, they’ll add Odorizzi, a 27-year-old right-hander who should immediately slot in as their opening day starter.
The Twins urgency picked up earlier this month when it was learned that last season’s opening day starter, Ervin Santana, would be out until early May after undergoing surgery on his middle finger.
Though he’s never been an All-Star, Odorizzi has been a bulldog for the Rays in the always difficult AL East. He’s made at least 28 starts in each of the last four seasons, posting a combined 3.81 ERA over 668.1 innings. He feels like a good fit for a Twins team with postseason aspirations. If Santana makes a strong return and Jose Berrios continues his development, they could have a dynamic top three.
The Twins also signed veteran Anibal Sanchez to a one-year, $2.5 million deal on Friday. That one doesn’t move the needle much, but the depth could prove valuable.
For Tampa Bay, the trade capped a pretty crazy hour that included another trade and the apparent dismissal of an All-Star outfielder.
The Rays first announced they’d acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named later. To make room for Cron, Tampa Bay designated 2017 All-Star Corey Dickerson for assignment, meaning they have 10 days to trade him, release him or attempt to pass him through waivers.
With that in mind, it’s possible yet another Rays trade will be coming soon. For now though, the night belongs to Minnesota.
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