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Report: Rays likely to trade Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times speculates that the Rays will try to move starter Jake Odorizzi and closer Alex Colome this offseason. No teams have come calling for Odorizzi just yet, but Colome has at least one suitor in the Cardinals, who reportedly discussed a trade for the 28-year-old righty several weeks ago.

Odorizzi, 27, had trouble replicating the solid numbers he posted in 2016. He finished his sixth run with the Rays in 2017, going 10-8 in 28 starts with a 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 in 143 1/3 innings. Part of that decline can be traced back to a cluster of injuries, from a lower back strain to a hamstring strain to a bout of food poisoning. All told, the right-hander missed just over a month of starts from April to August, making 2017 the first season (since his rookie campaign in 2014) in which he did not record at least 150 innings.

Colome, meanwhile, enjoyed the second-most valuable season of his career to date. While his ERA (3.24), strikeout (7.8 SO/9) and walk rates (3.1 BB/9) appeared to take a significant hit, he finished the year with 1.2 fWAR and a league-best 47 saves in 66 2/3 innings pitched. Like Odorizzi, he has several years of arbitration eligibility left on his contract and won’t reach free agency until 2021.

The Rays haven’t declared their intention to rebuild in 2018, but they don’t appear to have ruled it out, either. If they find suitable trade partners for Odorizzi and Colome, Topkin adds, that could indicate a willingness to give up bigger and better trade chips — with staff ace Chris Archer and veteran slugger Evan Longoria among them.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?