Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Rays are taking offers on right-hander Jake Odorizzi. The Orioles, Twins, Brewers, Cardinals, Yankees, Cubs and Angels are said to be involved in trade discussions, though no clear frontrunner has been named just yet.
Odorizzi, 27, is coming off of a down year with the Rays, one in which a bout of hamstring tightness and a back strain cost him just over a month on the disabled list. The righty produced a 10-8 record in 28 starts with a 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 143 1/3 innings. It’s not difficult to see his appeal, however: he’s only one season removed from the sub-4.00 ERA, 2.0+ fWAR numbers he posted in 2016 and is slated to remain under team control for another two years before hitting free agency in 2020.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times points out that Odorizzi still needs to complete the arbitration process with the Rays. He filed for $6.35 million last month and was met with a counteroffer of $6.05 million from the team. The two sides are scheduled to meet on Monday. Topkin adds that club owner Stuart Sternberg is still focused on reducing payroll this offseason, but isn’t likely to entertain offers for Odorizzi (or anyone else) unless the Rays are guaranteed prospects or organizational depth in the deal.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.