The Nationals weren’t sure whether it was a good idea to give Stephen Strasburg a fifth and final start on the last day of the season, but they’re probably glad they did after witnessing a stellar performance today.
Strasburg allowed just one hit over six innings and struck out 10 in a 79-pitch masterpiece against the Marlins on Wednesday. He picked up the victory — his first in five starts since returning from Tommy John surgery — in the 3-1 win.
Strasburg ends his September comebacks with a 1.50 ERA and a 24/2 K/BB ratio in 24 innings. He didn’t allow a homer. He now has a 2.54 ERA and a 116/19 K/BB ratio in 92 innings since debuting in 2010.
It’s still a ways off, but it will be interesting to see where the Nationals slot Strasburg into next year’s rotation. Strasburg figures to be their best pitcher, but Jordan Zimmermann probably deserves the nod after amassing a 3.18 ERA in his 26 starts this year. Since Strasburg will be on an innings limit next year, the Nats might decide to make him their fifth starter initially, allowing them to better control his workload.
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.