Andrew McCutchen as a No. 3 hitter?

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andrew mccutchen headshot.jpgAndrew McCutchen quickly earned the
reputation as an offensive dynamo in his rookie season, batting
.286/.365/.471 with 12 home runs, nine triples, 26 doubles, 54 RBI, 74
runs scored and 22 stolen bases in 443 at-bats, all of them out of the
leadoff spot. But after the acquisition of Akinori Iwamura from the Rays last month, manager
John Russell has at least begun to
consider the 23-year-old McCutchen as his No. 3 hitter:



“I’ve thought about it, especially if Aki does a nice job. We’ll see
how it goes,” Russell said. “But Cutch has been in the majors for three
months, and he did awfully well for us at the top. If it ain’t broke,
don’t fix it. All around baseball, you hear teams talk about how they
want a leadoff hitter. Well, we’ve got some good options.”




With his .354 career on-base
percentage and 10.1% career walk rate, Iwamura is another solid on-base
option for Russell, but don’t expect this to happen anytime soon. Even
with Hanley Ramirez, the transition from leadoff hitter to full-time
No. 3 hitter took three seasons. Especially with a run-starved team like the
Pirates, he’s best utilized at the top.

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.