The Cardinals and Rays are discussing a trade that would send a starting pitcher from Tampa to St. Louis, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. Morosi does not say who that pitcher might be, but notes that Jake Odorizzi grew up not far from St. Louis. This wouldn’t be the first time Odorizzi’s name has come up in trade rumors this week — the Rays have reportedly recently talked to the Dodgers about him.
The Cardinals can use starting pitching help — Lance Lynn will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery, and John Lackey has headed to the Cubs. The Cards have seen several top free agent starting pitchers to whom they’ve been connected this offseason head to other teams. They’ve also lost a crucial position player, Jason Heyward, to the Cubs, causing them to lose ground against a key divisional rival.
Odorizzi, still just 25, posted a 3.35 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 169 1/3 innings in an excellent second full season in Tampa Bay. If in fact Odorizzi is the pitcher the Rays and Cardinals are discussing, the Rays would surely seek a steep return — he isn’t even eligible for arbitration until after next season and can’t become a free agent until after 2019, so there appears to be no urgency for the Rays to trade him. Odorizzi and the Rays have also recently had extension talks, although the progress of those talks is unclear. Of course, if the Cardinals are pursuing a pitcher other than Odorizzi, the Rays have other starters who would likely command significant value, including Drew Smyly and Matt Moore.