White Sox designate Scott Downs for assignment

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Veteran reliever Scott Downs was designated for assignment by the White Sox in a move that Dan Dayes of CSNChicago.com says came “much to the dismay of his teammates.”

Downs signed with the White Sox in January for $4.25 million and reported to camp in The Best Shape Of His Life, but it resulted in an ugly 6.08 ERA with 15 walks in 24 innings. As recently as last season Downs posted a 2.49 ERA in 43 innings for the Braves and Angels, so even at age 38 it’s possible he still has a little something left in the tank for a team in need of middle relief help.

Chicago felt he struggled too much versus right-handed hitters to trust Downs as more than a situational southpaw and they didn’t want to use a bullpen spot on a role that limited, which is why Triple-A left-hander Eric Surkamp was called up to replace him. Downs will no doubt pass through waivers unclaimed, because none of the other 29 teams will want to touch the $2.5 million or so remaining on his contract.

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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.