Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Mark Loretta is expected to retire this week and accept a front office job with an unspecified team.
Loretta, 38, struggled with the Dodgers last season, batting a
career-low .232/.309/.276 in just 181 at-bats, but played hero during
the postseason, punching a game-winning RBI single in Game 2 of the
NLDS against the Cardinals.
He’ll put the cap on a very productive career in which he amassed 1,713 hits and a .295/.360/.395 batting line over the course of 15 seasons, making stops in Milwaukee, San Diego, Boston, Houston and Los Angeles along the way. Believe it or not, he finished 9th in the voting for NL MVP in 2004 on the strength of a .335/.391/.495 batting line to go along with 16 homers and 76 RBI, both career-highs.
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.