The Minnesota Twins acquired right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi from the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night for minor league infielder Jermaine Palacios, securing some needed depth for their rotation after missing out on several free agents. The 27-year-old Odorizzi will join his third major league team in the Twins, who won’t have right-hander Ervin Santana for the first several weeks of the regular season while he recovers from surgery on his middle finger.

Kyle Gibson, Jose Berrios and Adalberto Mejia are the only other returning pitchers who made more than 10 starts for the Twins in 2017. Phil Hughes is also in the mix, recovering from a second thoracic outlet surgery on his ribs in as many years, but the Twins were concerned enough about their lack of proven candidates to make the trade for Odorizzi.

This continues busy offseasons for both teams involved and a busy weekend for the Rays in particular, as they designated outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment and acquired first baseman CJ Cron from the Angels mere hours before this deal was completed. Odorizzi becomes the latest key contributor from last season dealt, joining former franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria, who was traded to the Giants in December.

The Twins, meanwhile, have added about $21 million to the 2018 payroll, with Odorizzi enhancing the rotation and free agents Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke boosting the bullpen. They’re also paying Michael Pineda $2 million while he rehabilitates from Tommy John surgery for the chance to add him to the rotation in 2019, and they have an agreement in place with reclamation project Anibal Sanchez for another $2.5 million this year, pending a passed physical exam.

For the Rays in 2017, Odorizzi went 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 143⅓ innings over 28 starts. He pitched a career-best 187⅔ innings over 33 starts in 2016, posting a 3.69 ERA. Odorizzi was drafted by Milwaukee 32nd overall in 2008. He was traded to Kansas City before the 2011 season along with Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jeremy Jeffries for Zach Greinke, where he made his 2012 major-league debut. After that season, he was traded to Tampa Bay along with Mike Montgomery and Wil Myers for James Shields and Wade Davis. He’s 40-38 with a 3.83 ERA in 705⅓ major league innings.

The 21-year-old Palacios has a .290 career average over four minor league seasons. He finished last year with Class A Fort Myers. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked the infielder 24th on his list of Twins prospects, with MLB.com rating Palacios 27th amongst Minnesota farmhands. MLB.com’s scouting report described him as “an offensive-minded middle infielder whose bat is a little bit ahead of his glove….He has some potential at the plate to hit for average and good extra-base pop.” Palacios’s defense got solid reviews, though the assumption was that he would eventually have to change positions due to the number of other good shortstops ahead of him in the Twins’ system; the same could be true for him in Tampa given Willy Adames’ rep as the Rays’ shortstop of the future. To make room for Odorizzi on the 40-man roster, the Twins transferred Pineda to the 60-day disabled list.

This could turn out to be a great addition for the Twins, one that more than makes up for missing out on Yu Darvish in free agency, given how little they gave up to acquire him. For the Rays, its a curious move. They have become a franchise know for trading assets away regularly while getting solid returns that help them stay somewhat competitive year in and year out. But given how long they shopped Odorizzi, this is a substandard return and combined with strangely designating Dickerson for assignment, this team is now significantly worse than last season, and can only rely on their current farm system for future help.

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