Justin Maxwell fractured his left hand in Tuesday’s game and the Astros announced today that he’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks. In his place the Astros have turned to prospect Robbie Grossman as their starting center fielder.
Maxwell was all about power and range, which helped cancel out a .230 batting average, .301 on-base percentage, and poor plate discipline. Grossman is a much different player, offering excellent patience at the plate and very good on-base percentages along with little power and questionable range in center field.
Long term Grossman probably doesn’t have much chance of sticking as a center fielder, but this does give him an opportunity to impress for the next month and perhaps work his way into the Astros’ plans alongside Maxwell.
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.