Rockies sign Betancourt to two-year contract extension

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According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, the Rockies have reached agreement on a two-year contract extension with reliever Rafael Betancourt.  The deal also carries a club option for 2013.

Betancourt, 35, has been one of the most reliable setup men in baseball for the past several seasons, especially recently in Colorado.  Since coming over from the Indians in the summer of 2009, the right-hander has posted a 3.08 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 118 strikeouts in 87.2 innings.

He will make $3.77 million this season, $4 million in 2012, and that option is worth $4.25 million or a $250,000 buyout.  According to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors, who did some translating of Rojas’ article, the total worth of the new deal is $8.02 million.

It’s rarely wise to shell out multi-year contracts to relievers, but Betancourt is a good one and probably worth the risk.  He will handle the eighth inning behind closer Huston Street this season for the Rox.

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.