Happy Jackie Robinson Day

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April 15th is the anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League debut.  Tons of players will wear #42 in his honor today (which I don’t much care for, but that’s another rant).  That dude down at that university in Georgia or Florida or wherever will issue his annual report about minority participation in baseball (which I don’t much care for either, but that’s also another rant).

Major League Baseball is obviously doing stuff too. One of them is the launch of www.IAM42.com where  60+ baseball players and other celebrity types appear on video and express what Jackie Robinson and his legacy means to them.  Also, tomorrow at noon and 6PM easter, MLB Network will air a documentary called Letters From Jackie: The Private Thoughts of Jackie Robinson. It’s hosted by Curtis Granderson and narrated by Dennis Haysbert (who, sadly, is not likely to be doing the Cerrano voice).  It focuses on Robinson’s role in the civil rights movement, post-baseball retirement for the most part. A preview of it can be seen here.

This sounds cool. Because, while I mean this as no offense whatsoever to Robinson’s baseball legacy, that part of his life is a well-known and well-told story by now. Indeed, it’s bordering on fable and simplistic morality tale, and has been sapped somewhat of its historical power due to over-exposure and reductionism in my view.  Jackie Robinson’s post-playing career, however,  is every bit as interesting and complex as him breaking the color line, even if it wasn’t as significant.  And I tend to be a fan of interesting and complex, and I like to learn new things rather than recite the old, so I am really looking forward to this.

Anyway, happy 42 Day.

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.