Deep thoughts: the Wild Card and pennant races

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Jayson Stark spends an awful lot of time in his latest column explaining how adding a second wild card team in each league would fix the problem of division races like that in the AL East being basically meaningless.  He goes so far as to sketch out how it would work mechanically, how the schedule would break down and everything.

Here’s a concept: the Yankees-Rays race would be totally awesome and meaningful if there was no wild card to begin with.

But hey, if you want to further dilute the only major sport playoff that actually keeps bad teams out the vast majority of the time, by all means, go for it.

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.