The Tampa Bay Rays have been expected to trade a starting pitcher, likely to be Jake Odorizzi. They should hold off on that plan for now.
Even though Spring Training is starting, quite a few teams are looking for help in their starting rotation. Naturally, with that being the case, those teams with pitching depth are in the driver’s seat when it comes to these trade scenarios. That is the place that the Tampa bay Rays find themselves, as they have a bit of depth amongst their starters.
In these rumors about the Rays, three pitchers are typically brought up. Chris Archer is one of the better pitchers in the game, and as his extension continues, he will cost more. However, as the unquestioned leader of the staff, and quite affordable even for the Rays budget, it does not make sense to part with him. Alex Cobb is another pitcher that gets tossed into these discussions, but as he is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, there is no real reason to trade him.
This leaves Jake Odorizzi, who could be an interesting middle of the rotation option for a contender. He has just entered his arbitration years, during which his price tag will continue to increase. As such, he is thought to be the most likely starter to be traded, opening a spot for either Jose De Leon or Matt Andriese.
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And yet, it does not make sense for the Rays to part ways with Odorizzi just yet. By having him in the rotation, at least through the trade deadline, Tampa Bay can push back the arbitration clock on De Leon, making him more affordable for the long term. The Rays could gain an extra half season of control, while allowing him to continue to develop in Durham.
Meanwhile, on the trade front, the Rays may be able to get a better package for Odorizzi at the deadline. While more teams would, theoretically, be interested in his services now, the return could be greater in a few months. As teams look to make that final push for the postseason, and look for that arm to get them over the top, Odorizzi could become a coveted pitcher.
Just as the Rays have proven this offseason, sometimes patience is the key. While it may be tempting to move a player when they begin to cost a bit, waiting those few months could result in a better return. As the Rays need younger talent to contend and continue their model, that becomes even more important.
Jake Odorizzi may well be on the Tampa Bay Rays trading block, but it makes sense to hold off for now. Patience is a virtue, and could be the case here as well.