Pirates release veteran reliever Juan Cruz

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Juan Cruz was plenty useful for the Pirates on a one-year, $1.25 million deal, throwing 36 innings with a 2.78 ERA and 33/19 K/BB ratio, but today they released the 33-year-old reliever.

Cruz was designated for assignment after blowing a save in Sunday’s marathon game against the Cardinals and cleared waivers, at which point he elected to become a free agent rather than reporting to Triple-A.

Cruz didn’t pitched as well as his 2.78 ERA would suggest, but he’s generally been a pretty solid middle reliever over the years and has a 3.42 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 84 innings since the beginning of last season.

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.