Rape charges dropped against Garrett Wittels

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You’ll recall that  Florida International University baseball star Garrett Wittels and two friends had rape charges filed against them in the Bahamas last year.  Well, that’s over: they’ve been dropped:

 Authorities decided the evidence didn’t support prosecution. The three young men, represented in the Bahamas by Thomas Evans and present in court Monday, were accused in December of sexual assault at Nassau’s Atlantis resort by two 17-year-old girls … The defendants never denied having sex with the young women. Security camera footage appeared to contradict what the women told Bahamian authorities.

Wittels’ lawyer says it was a shakedown scheme. I have no idea if that’s true, but if it was, it was a misguided one: despite his famous 56-game hitting streak last season, Wittels went undrafted in all 50 rounds of this year’s draft, so it’s not like he has big money in his future.

Either way, as is almost always the case, the dropping of the charges will be publicized about on-tenth of the amount the charges themselves were publicized, but such is the way our media works.

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.