Red Sox likely to head north without Daniel Bard

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ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes thinks the Red Sox open the season with right-hander Daniel Bard with Triple-A Pawtucket:

How Farrell plans to deploy his bullpen at the start of the season is coming into sharper focus. First, even though he says the team has yet to make a decision regarding Daniel Bard, all signs point to Bard opening the season in Pawtucket, which puts Clayton Mortensen on the club.

Between ten starts and seven relief appearances in the big leagues last year, Bard finished with a 6.22 ERA with a significantly-reduced ability to miss bats and a ballooning walk rate. He wasn’t much better in the 32 innings with Pawtucket in the middle of 2012 either, as he posted a 7.03 ERA and a 32-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio there. Bard’s star has fallen since being a two-time top-100 prospect as ranked by Baseball America going into the 2007 and 2009 seasons.

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.