Rafael Betancourt is expected to come off the disabled list Friday and Jason Mastrodonato of MLB.com reports that he’ll slide right back into the Rockies’ closer role despite fill-in Rex Brothers doing a fantastic job.
Betancourt has missed the past month with a groin injury, during which time Brothers has thrown 8.2 shutout innings while converting all three of his save chances. And overall this season Brothers has a 0.28 ERA (yes, zero-point-two-eight) in 32.1 innings.
It’s a nice problem to have, of course, and Betancourt has quietly been one of the best closers in baseball since taking over the job full time last season, saving 42 games with a 2.91 ERA and 79/21 K/BB ratio in 77 innings despite calling Coors Field home.
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.