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American League

ICYMI: Rays Trade Jake Odorizzi To Twins, Acquire C.J. Cron From Angels

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The Tampa Bay Rays have been busy as of late, as they traded left fielder Corey Dickerson to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the 22nd of February, as well as right fielder Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks two days prior to that as part of a three-team trade.

Right before both of those deals, the Rays were involved in an additional two that we forgot to cover here as they both went down on the 17th.

First, Tampa Bay received first baseman C.J. Cron from the Los Angeles Angels for a player to be named. Immediately following the trade, the Rays designated Dickerson for assignment, as he was traded to Pittsburgh five days later.

The second deal involved right-handed starter Jake Odorizzi, as he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for shortstop Jermaine Palacios, the Twins’ No. 27 prospect via MLB Pipeline.

Cron, 28, has hit 16 homers in each of the last three seasons for the Angels, averaging 59 RBIs and 110 games played in those campaigns. This past season, he appeared in 100 games, the fewest since his 2014 rookie season in which he appeared in 79.

With 42 RBIs after the 2017 All-Star break, Cron finished second on the Angels in that category to Albert Pujols who had 47.

“One of the things that we have been on the lookout for was a right-handed hitter,” said Rays general manager Erik Neander. “When Cron became available at the price he was available for us, we felt like he was a better fit for our club moving forward, to balance us out. Going forward, we’re hoping (to have) similar offensive capabilities (from Cron), but from the other side of the plate.”

Odorizzi, 27, leaves the Rays after being with the team for the last five seasons. Prior to being dealt, Odorizzi defeated the Rays in an arbitration hearing, as the righty is due to make $6.35 million this year.

This past season, Odorizzi went 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA in 28 games/starts across 143 1/3 innings, the fewest he’s had in his four full seasons as a starter (since 2014). In those four years, Odorizzi went 40-36 with a 3.81 ERA in 120 games/starts, averaging 167 innings pitched and 154 strikeouts per year.

With Odorizzi out of the rotation mix, the Rays are looking at an Opening Day rotation of Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Jake Faria, Matt Andriese, and Nathan Eovaldi.

Palacios, 21, was signed by the Twins out of Venezuela in 2013. In 2017, he hit .296/.333/.454 with 13 homers, 10 triples, and 67 RBIs in 124 games across two different single-A levels.

“There comes a point in time where you have to make some decisions and move some things forward,” said Neander. “That’s just on a general level. We felt this was the best time to (trade Odorizzi), and we felt like this was the best offer.

“This (Palacios) is somebody that, by our own work and by our own information, what we see here is a lean, wiry Venezuelan shortstop who has had plenty of offensive success,” added Neander. “Carries the position defensively well. Very good arm. Very good hands.”

The Rays finished 2017 with an 80-82 record, an improvement from their 68-94 record in 2016. The team is in somewhat of a rebuilding phase, as owner Stu Sternberg has put a payroll reduction into place for the upcoming year. Cron and Palacios are two solid additions in my opinion, and time will tell who the Rays will eventually send to Minnesota in exchange for Cron.

American League

Rangers Sign Rafael Montero

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The Texas Rangers have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with right handed pitcher Rafael Montero, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant.

Montero is still working back from Tommy John surgery, and was once a top prospect in the New York Mets organization , but struggled transitioning to the major league level, putting together a woeful 5.38 ERA over 192 1/3 innings pitched.

 

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American League

Astros Sign Robinson Chirinos to One-Year Deal

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The Houston Astros are signing free agent catcher Robinson Chirinos to a one-year deal with $5.75 million, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Chirinos had a career year in 2017 while playing for the Texas Rangers, but had a dramatic dip in production during the 2018 season and was no brought back by the team. Chirinos isn’t considered a defensive stud behind the plate either, and will join Max Stassi in the Astros catching rotation.

 

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American League

Angels Announce Coaching Staff

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The Los Angeles Angels have announced the coaching staff for brand new manager Brad Ausmus.

Pitching coach Doug White, hitting coach Jeremy Reed, and assistant hitting coach Shawn Wooten have already been announced as additions to Ausmus’ staff.

Long-time MLB infielder Mike Gallego will work with infielders and coach third base. Jose Molina, the former big league catcher, will work with catchers. Additionally, Jesus Feliciano will be slated to work with the outfielders and former slugger Paul Sorrento will join the hitting coaches team.

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