The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $130 million contract with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. While it was already unlikely that Nelson Cruz was going to return to Texas, this pretty much seals it. So the big question is, where will he land now? Bob Nightengale of USA Today has one guess:
It’s a logical assumption, as the Mariners and Cruz have been linked throughout the offseason. And the Mariners still need to add other parts if they are serious about making a run at things. Still, I wouldn’t rule out the Orioles, as they have been mentioned as a possibility before and they could be compelled to make a big splash amid the nasty fallout from the Grant Balfour situation. Not saying it would be the right course of action, but I could see it.
Cruz turned down a qualifying offer from the Rangers to test free agency, so whoever signs him will have to surrender a draft pick. While there was talk of him potentially getting $75 million just a few weeks ago, that could be a stretch with few obvious fits remaining.
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.