Rays give Jake Odorizzi the fifth spot in the rotation

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Rays manager Joe Maddon has named Jake Odorizzi the team’s fifth starter, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports. As a result, Cesar Ramos will contribute out of the bullpen. Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish also reports that Erik Bedard also opted out of his contract with the Rays, who hoped the left-hander would go to Triple-A.

Odorizzi turns 24 years old on Thursday and is looking forward to his first full season in the big leagues. In 29 2/3 innings last year, Odorizzi posted a 3.94 ERA with 22 strikeouts and eight walks. He has consistently been rated among the game’s top-100 prospects dating back to 2011.

Report: Red Sox expected to hire Alex Cora after World Series

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox have offered a contract to Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora, though the deal won’t be officially announced until the conclusion of the World Series later this month. Cora has long been a favorite for the Sox’ managerial vacancy, and despite reports that he was being pursued by the Tigers, Mets, Phillies and Nationals, he’s expected to land in Boston after all. The team has yet to verify the report.

The deal is for three years, per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Cora is coming off of a one-year gig with the Astros and has no prior managerial experience. More importantly, however, he stands out for his familiarity with the Red Sox’ organization, strong connection with players and analytics-driven approach.

The Red Sox are the second team to replace their manager this offseason after the Tigers snatched up Ron Gardenhire on Friday. The Mets, Phillies and Nationals are still hunting for replacements.