Pirates claim outfielder Xavier Paul off waivers from Dodgers

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Pittsburgh is making good use of the No. 1 waiver position, claiming Brandon Wood from the Angels last week and now snagging Xavier Paul off waivers from the Dodgers today.

I’m sure the Pirates will be mocked in some quarters for picking up other teams’ scraps and certainly neither waiver claim is going to be a franchise-defining move, but taking a no-risk flier on a former top prospect like Wood was a sound decision and the Dodgers never gave Paul the opportunity his minor-league production warranted.

Because the Dodgers never committed to him Paul has just 160 career plate appearances at age 26, but he’s also hit .320 with an .882 OPS in 203 games at Triple-A. His power is somewhat limited and playing half his games at Albuquerque in the Pacific Coast League mean those numbers need to be viewed through a very hitter-friendly filter, but at the very least Paul looks capable of being a solid left-handed bench bat or platoon starter with experience in all three outfield spots.

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.