Mets to interview Ken Oberkfell for managerial opening

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It seemed like a no-brainer out of loyalty, if nothing else.

Ken Oberkfell, who has managed the Mets’  Triple-A team for most of the last six years, will get a chance to interview for the opening with the big-league team.

Oberkfell has certainly paid all of his dues.  He was Baseball America’s Minor League Manager of the Year in 2005.  He’s managed the Mets’ Triple-A franchise through stops in Norfolk, New Orleans and Buffalo, with the only interruption coming when he became the team’s major league first-base coach for a spell in 2008 after Willie Randolph was fired as manager.

He’s even managing at this very moment.  The interview will take place in the Dominican Republic because he’s trying to lead the Leones del Escogido to a second straight DWL championship.

A 16-year major leaguer, Oberkfell hit .278/.351/.362 with six clubs between 1977 and 1992.  He had little power, but he amassed a 356/546 K/BB ratio in 4,874 career at-bats.

Oberkfell will be the seventh candidate interviewed by the Mets, joining fellow team employees Wally Backman, Terry Collins, Chip Hale, Dave Jauss and Bob Melvin and Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale.  Still on tap are Clint Hurdle and Don Wakamatsu.

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.