Minor leaguers have an incentive to “smoke their way onto the 40-man roster”

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At least the ones with some promise do.

Jeff Passan has the story about the incentive structure in place for major league teams to take minor league prospects who get busted for marijuana and stash them on the 40-man roster. Why? If they’re on the 40-man they’re not subject to long suspensions for weed like they would be if they stayed on the regular minor league roster. If the player is in the team’s future plans, it’s way preferable to promote them and protect them early than it would be to risk them being idled for 50 or 100 games.

It’s an interesting story with some juicy anonymous quotes. And it’s evidence that, for all of the progress Major League Baseball has made in putting its drug policies in motion, it still has some work to do. I mean, it makes zero sense for pot to be treated so harshly in the minor leagues when it’s not considered that big a deal among major leaguers. And, increasingly, in society at large.

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.