After trading Drew Smyly, one had to imagine that the Tampa Bay Rays would be done subtracting from the starting rotation. That may not be the case.
With the trade of Drew Smyly to the Seattle Mariners, the Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation appears to be set. Chris Archer will front the rotation, with Jake Odorizzi and Alex Cobb slotting in behind him. Rounding out the rotation would be Matt Andriese, who would finally get to open the season in the starting rotation, and promising youngster Blake Snell. It is certainly a solid collection of players.
However, that rotation may not be as set as one would think. According to Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe, the Rays are still looking to deal a veteran starter. Given Archer’s status as the ace of the rotation, and how Cobb is still returning from Tommy John surgery, speculation is that Odorizzi would be the pitcher on the trade block.
A former top prospect, Odorizzi has not quite developed into the top of the rotation starter he was expected to be. However, he has become a solid middle of the rotation starter. Last year, he posted a 10-6 record with a solid 3.69 ERA and a 1.194 WHiP, striking out 166 batters in 187.2 innings. Odorizzi also set a personal best for innings and starts in 2016.
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Odorizzi is certainly an interesting player to have on the market. He is under team control through 2019, so he would be a long term piece for any team interested in his services. And he is about to make his first trip through arbitration, making him a relatively inexpensive option.
With his solid performance in 2016, and his team control, Odorizzi may well fetch a solid return on the open market. The question then for the Rays would be how to replace him in the starting rotation. Unless a young arm was to come back, they may have to dip into free agency for another potential bounceback candidate, like Doug Fister. Or, the Rays may be looking at a pitcher like Jason Hammel, who could be a bargain at this point in time.
Of course, the Raoys could be looking to clear room for one of their minor league arms as well. Brent Honeywell has only spent half a season at AA, but he has displayed the type of poise that could make a promotion to the Majors possible with a strong Spring Training. Otherwise, that spot may come down to intriguing prospects Jacob Faria and Jaime Schultz.
Jake Odorizzi is thought to be on the block. However, unless the Tampa Bay Rays receive an offer they cannot refuse, it does not make sense to send him elsewhere just yet.