Entering the offseason, Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi looked like a shoo-in to end up elsewhere via trade, but the lack of action across the majors this offseason has played a role in preventing that, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Although the soon-to-be 28-year-old Odorizzi says he’s “still happy” to be in Tampa Bay, he’s cognizant that a trade could come together in the next few weeks – especially considering all the pitchers the low-spending Rays have dealt in the past. “There’s always that unsureness, especially with us and when people get to where I’m at in contract status and years left remaining (until free agency), this is typically the time (to be traded),” Odorizzi said. “We saw (Jeremy Hellickson), David (Price), (Drew) Smyly, (Matt) Garza, like everybody who gets to that point. We know it’s a pretty strong reality of how things go.” The Rays will “almost certainly” trade Odorizzi at some point, according to Topkin, and, as the player himself pointed out, it figures to occur soon given his dwindling team control. He’s in his penultimate year of arbitration eligibility and will earn between $6.05MM and $6.3MM, depending on what the panel decides.
More from Tampa Bay and two other AL East cities:
- Along with the previously reported Carlos Gonzalez and Jarrod Dyson, the Orioles have interest in free agent outfielder Jon Jay, per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Signing any of the three would give the Orioles a much-needed lefty-swinging outfielder to join a group that currently includes four righties (Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, Austin Hays and Joey Rickard) and a switch-hitter (Anthony Santander). Jay, who’ll turn 33 in March, has offered average to slightly above-average offense throughout his career, and he has typically held his own against both lefty and righty pitchers. In 433 plate appearances with the Cubs in 2017, he hit .296/.374/.375 – good for a 101 wRC+.
- The Yankees have been on the hunt for starting pitching help throughout the offseason, though they haven’t made any significant moves on that front aside from re-signing CC Sabathia. Although the Yankees have a full rotation on paper with Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery, Sabathia would like to see them add to it. “It is what it is, (but) you always need more,” Sabathia said to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. “It’s a long season. You never know what’s going to happen. The more arms we got, the better.” As Kuty notes, the Yankees’ talented rotation does come with questions, namely in the form of durability/workload concerns regarding everyone in the quintet.
- Joining the Rays this week on a minor league pact was an easy decision for righty Ryan Weber, details Topkin, who adds that the 27-year-old told his agent to immediately take their offer. Weber was eager to accept the Rays’ proposal because he’s a local product who still lives in the area. “This is where I first saw a big-league game, telling my parents I’m going to be out there one day,” he said of the Rays’ home ballpark, Tropicana Field. “So to actually have a chance to play for the Rays, that’s cool. That’s pretty cool.” As a member of the Mariners last season, arm problems limited Weber to just seven appearances between the majors and minors, but he’s now “100 percent.”