Rays Rumors: Interested in Nunez, Twins in Odorizzi

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 16: Tampa Bay Rays Starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 16: Tampa Bay Rays Starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The offseason has just about moved into spring training and the Tampa Bay Rays still have plenty of work ahead as they continue to listen to offers on Odorizzi and others while looking to add a right-handed bat.

In one week, pitchers and catchers will report to the Tampa Bay Rays spring training complex in Port Charlotte with much of their offseason list of needs still incomplete.

Speculation is that over the next six weeks, the complexion of the team could undergo a substantial makeover as the Tampa Bay Rays continue to look at ways of reducing payroll with potential trades.

For much of the early part of the offseason, rumors were significant involving Alex Colome, Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi. However, the Archer rumors are in sleep mode at least for the time being as Tampa Bay Rays GM Eric Neander gave a small vote of confidence to Archer that the Rays would be looking to him for leadership.

"“I’ve talked to (GM) Erik (Neander) a lot and he’s made me feel pretty good about being with the Rays in 2018.” – Chris Archer"

Odorizzi meanwhile is headed to camp, somewhat surprised that he is still wearing a Tampa Bay Rays uniform and is prepared should a trade occur. In recent days though, talk is heating up as the Twins are showing significant interest in his services. However, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN that could change since the Twins have made a formal offer to Yu Darvish.

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Wolfson also adds that the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins are “maintaining pretty regular trade talk.”

But Ken Rosenthal of The Athlete writes that no trade is imminent and tweets that Odorizzi could be a fallback if Twins fail to sign Darvish.

The slow movement this offseason is causing havoc with free agents and it undoubtedly is affecting teams in terms of potential trades.

With over 100 free agents, including top pitchers in Darvish, Alex Cobb and Jake Arrieta among others, teams are showing reluctance in making deals.

While Odorizzi is one of the Rays top pitchers, his 2017 season was not tops by any means. In addition, like Archer, because of his team control the Rays would be asking for a sizeable return.

Another factor with a potential trade will be the result from his arbitration hearing, which is set for Feb. 12. Odorizzi filed for $6.3 million with the Rays submitting $6.05 million – either way you look at it, Odorizzi will be getting a nice raise from last season when he earned $4.1 million.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays are still looking for a right-handed bat and have infielder Eduardo Nunez on their radar. Besides the Rays, the Yankees are also interested as are the Red Sox who are interested in re-signing him.

A versatile infielder by trade has experience at second, third, short and left field – just the type of player that the Tampa Bay Rays like. Offensively, not a home run threat – but will beat you with the extra-base hit. Last year with the Giants and Red Sox, Nunez hit .313/.341/.460 with 12 home runs, 33 doubles with 24 stolen bases.

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Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Is the Starting Rotation Fixed or in Flux?

Since the Tampa Bay Rays are looking to reduce payroll, which has not happened as yet, I would speculate that there must be a trade about to happen that not only reduces payroll, but also allows them to sign Nunez.