Aviles set for season-ending Tommy John surgery

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After six years in the minors Mike Aviles came out of nowhere last
season to hit .325 in 102 games as a 27-year-old rookie, finishing
fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting and seemingly
establishing himself as the Royals’ shortstop for the near future.

This season has unfortunately been a completely different story for
Aviles, as he batted just .183 through 36 games before landing on the
disabled list in mid-May with a strained forearm. His forearm soreness
turned out to be a torn elbow ligament and the Royals announced this afternoon that Aviles will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

While hitters tend to come back from Tommy John surgery sooner and more
easily than pitchers, Aviles is still facing at least nine months of
rehab and an uncertain future. He’s unlikely to be ready for Opening
Day next April and could easily be sidelined for much of the first
half, which means that Aviles will be 29 years old by the time he puts
on a Royals uniform again.

Aviles’ minor-league resume suggested that he was playing quite a
bit over his head as a rookie, but his track record definitely showed
that he was capable of being a solid player. Sadly, after playing over
600 games in the minors before making it the big leagues he’s now
facing a long road back to the majors and the Royals are left with the motley crew of Willie Bloomquist, Tony Pena Jr., and Luis Hernandez at shortstop.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins

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The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.

With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.

Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.