Nationals, Rays targeting Orlando Hudson

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hudson pointing.JPGUPDATE: ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that the Rays are also keen on Hudson and might be willing to move Ben Zobrist to right field in order to accommodate him.

7:03pm: MLB.com’s Bill Ladson heard from a baseball source Tuesday that the Nationals “have a good chance of signing” free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson.

“There is good progress going on every day,” Hudson told MLB.com. “I will sign
soon enough. You can put it on the Internet and on TV. I’m going to
sign. I can’t say exactly when. It will not be long. I can’t say if it’s
with the Nationals, San Diego or Cleveland. I can’t say with whom.
Something is getting done.”

The “O-Dog” hit .283/.357/.417 with nine home runs, 62 RBI and eight stolen bases in 551 at-bats for the Dodgers last season.  He’s found little interest on the open market this winter, but it feels like we could see a flurry of free agent signings within the next week or two.  After all, pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring camp in just 19 days.

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.