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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 to Target Top Free Agents

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Jon Daniels

The Texas Rangers are entering the offseason with plans of targeting some of the top tier free agents that will be available.

Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels made it clear that he was ready to bring the Rangers back as a major player in the free agent market.

“This year, we are going to look at everything,” Daniels said, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant. “Our goal is to get better, period. There are a couple of spots more [available] than others. We have signed [top free agents] before and at some point I have to suspect we will again.”

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American League

Yankees’ Brian Cashman Talks Gerrit Cole, Offseason Plans

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Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees expect to be busy this offseason, as they usually are, and among the teams trying to lure Gerrit Cole to join their rotation.

Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman discussed Cole, as well as the upcoming offseason for the Bronx Bombers.

According to SNY’s Andy Martino, Cashman says that the Yankees will engage with both Houston Astros hurler Gerrit Cole and World Series Champion Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.

However, Cashman added that the Yankees already have a significant amount of money on the books, according to Newsday’s Erik Boland.

Cashman added that the Yankees will also explore the trade market, much like they did last season when they acquired James Paxton from the Seattle Seahawks, according to the New York Times’ James Wagner.

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American League

Red Sox Dustin Pedroia Attempting Return in 2020

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Dustin Pedroia

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has reportedly given “every indication” that he intends to play in 2020 says new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, according to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Pedroia, 36, underwent a mid-season knee procedure that had many questioning his career.

“Every indication I’ve gotten is he’s feeling good and intending on playing,” Bloom says of Pedroia. “I know he’s working really hard to make sure he’s in as good of shape as possible,” Bloom said.

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