Jake OdorizziThe Rays have now played more than 40% of the season and they remain in a massive funk, losing 17 of their last 27 games, a stretch that actually includes their best run of the season, winning nine out of 11 games at one point. But as the injuries pile up and the other players continue to under-perform, it is becoming more and more clear that this is not the Rays’ season and it is time to start trading pieces.

This is exactly what MLB insider Tim Kurkjian bluntly said during an appearance on Buster Olney’s “Baseball Tonight” podcast.

“They need to sell,” Kurkjian said. “In an honest moment, they have to say ‘We’re not going to win this division. We don’t score enough runs. And we have a surplus of pitching,’ which really, almost nobody else has … I think they have to do something because, again, they are the Tampa Bay Rays. The only way they ever get anything done is to make really smart moves and be real honest about things. This team just hasn’t gotten going yet and with the recent injuries with [Steve] Pearce and some others, with [Kevin] Kiermaier out this long, they should say, ‘We’ve gotta get better going forward.’ ”

The name that keeps getting whispered as a player other teams seem to be targeting is Jake Odorizzi.

“I actually think they’ve got some pieces that could interest other teams in a summer time in which there is very few starting pitchers available,” Olney said. “A guy like Jake Odorizzi would definitely get some interest from other clubs.”

As Kurkjian notes, “Odorizzi would really bring a lot,” in part because there just aren’t a lot of quality starting pitchers available right now or even this winter.

Sure enough, Odorizzi’s name is already being tossed around in trade rumors, starting with the Miami Marlins, via Jon Morosi.

However, just because the Marlins are interested doesn’t mean it is even feasible.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald confirmed Morosi’s report, but also makes it sound like a long-shot at best.

“The Marlins are looking for starting pitching help, and as Fox reported, one name they’ve discussed is Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.63). But the Marlins know they don’t have a lot of appealing assets to trade for a high-end pitcher.”

Three different publications, Baseball Prospectus, MiLB.com, and Minor League Ball, all have the Marlins’ farm system ranked as the second-worst in baseball.

While the Rays may prefer to move a pitcher like Matt Moore, who is owed $26 million over the next three seasons in a series of team options, Odorizzi is probably more attractive for other teams as he will only be hitting his first year of arbitration eligibility next season, will likely make a lot less over the next three years and has fewer questions about his potential and upside.

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7 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Barring a team offers a crazy trade proposal, I'd rather them just keep Odo, then try and play the "will this prospect pan out game." At least they'd be able to bank on him being a solid mid-rotation starter for the next few years. He isn't free agent eligible until 2020. Not a lot of teams will be clamoring for Moore anytime soon unless he shows some real consistency. I think the most realistic trade piece from the rotation is Cobb, if he's able to pitch halfway decent when he comes back. He's free agent eligible in 2018, so it's not like he has a lot of control left. With the weak free agent market this offseason, they can flip him for a decent prospect or two.

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  2. Ken H says:

    “In an honest moment, they have to say ‘We’re not going to win this division. We don’t score enough runs. And we have a surplus of pitching,’ which really, almost nobody else has … I think they have to do something because, again, they are the Tampa Bay Rays. The only way they ever get anything done is to make really smart moves and be real honest about things."
    What a Joke! When have the Rays ever been honest about anything? They continually lie to the fans, the press and each other. Sternberg continually cries that they don't have the resources to field a competitive team. Why, the attendance is down he says. The stadium sucks he says. No local corporate support he says. No support from local government he says. Bulls*^t I say. His partnership makes money every year despite fielding low budget, flawed teams.
    If they were to really bare their souls they'd admit that the Price trade was terrible. That the Drafts from 2010 to date have been horrible. That Archer isn't and never was an "ace", hell entering the season he had a below .500 record. That Cash wasn't ready to be an MLB manager and still isn't. The list could go on and on.
    Before they bungle another trade maybe they ought to take an "honest" look at their MLB and MiLB rosters and decide who will help make this team one that the region's fans deserve. I see a lot of dead weight.

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    • OriginalTom says:

      Way to early to judge the Price trade.

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      • Ken H says:

        Compare the Price trade to the Hamels trade Tom. Who got the better deal? I expected a haul more similar to Alfaro, Thompson, Williams, + than Adames, a quad A bum and a 2-8 pitcher.

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  3. Chris says:

    Ken, while I'll agree with you that we probably didn't get enough for Price, I'd say the overall record of this ballclub's trades has been pretty good. I was just thinking that we unloaded both Crawford and Shields at exactly the right time. Neither one has really excelled since they left the team. (Shields did play a big part in KC's WS run, but since then he's bottomed out). Picking up guys like Odorrizi and Smyly who have worked out pretty well. Like it or not, the team is in a division with clubs that have 2-3 time the payroll. The rays have to make some aggressive moves sometimes to continue to compete. Sometimes they don't pan out. hell, they're human. Nobody's perfect. Regarding the owner, should he operate the team at a loss for the good of the fans? You wouldn't, I guarantee it. It's a business, not a charity. Of course he should try to turn a profit. I do my best and get to 15-20 games a year. The place is empty most nights. They should be given an award for the competitive team they've fielded all these years, despite an impossible division, and lack of fan support. What they have accomplished from 08-13 is nothing short of amazing when you consider all these factors. It's silly to get angry at them because they've come back down to earth a bit.

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    • Ken H says:

      Chris, I also attend 15-20 games at the Trop each year as well as away series in Miami, Baltimore NY, and Boston. We must have been seeing a different club over the last two and a half years. I wouldn't describe their performance as "coming back to earth a bit". It's been mediocre at best.
      As for the ownership group, remember that they enter each season playing with house money. Revenue sharing funds from other teams has been over 25 million from 07 to 13. I don't think the final numbers for 14 and 15 are in yet but I'm certain the amount is about the same. The Rays salary base for '16 is 66.8 million. If they receive 30 million as expected do the math. The Rays, and the Sternberg group, are one of the few teams to turn a profit year after year.
      I believe that Sports franchises do have a greater responsibility than, say restaurant owners or tire stores, to the citizens of their community. A winning team helps a city create a healthy self image, increases tourism, and has a positive effect on the city's youth.
      I agree that the Rays have been on a good run but hesitate to call it amazing. Let's say fortunate or lucky maybe. As for a trophy, they'll get one if they win games, and they'll get the fan support to boot.

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  4. Geoff Peterson says:

    These so-called insiders need to realize there's a difference between the way small market clubs and large market clubs operate when having a poor season. A small market club does not need to trade all their assets away every time they have a poor season. They realize that many of their better players will be healthier or return to form the next year while some of the younger guys will mature. They might part with a few soon to be free agent players, but are much less likely to have a fire sale like these talking heads would prefer. You don't get better by trading away your controllable, evolving talent.

    Large market teams usually do have to have a fire sale if they're not competitive as they have so many overpriced stars, they need to clear a few out to retool the next year and/or add depth to their often sub par minor league system.

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