The Los Angeles Dodgers are firing up trade talks with the Rays with a renewed focus on starting pitching, and with Rays ace Chris Archer unlikely to be dealt, they've turned to the club's number two: Jake Odorizzi.
Dodgers are in talks with rays about jake odorizzi— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 17, 2015
The Dodgers looked to Hisashi Iwakuma to help fill the Zack Greinke void, but with a failed physical for the former Mariners starter, their rotation has a glaring hole.
It's not clear whether there's anything to these rumors, and both franchises tend to work quietly (as Andrew Friedman did when he was with the Rays), but the fit is logical, and Odorizzi is a valuable pitcher.
Using the recent $/WAR projections from Fangraphs, and stepping Odorizzi's WAR total down from 3.3 WAR (a reasonable projection for him over a full season's worth of work), he's quite a valuable piece for any trade discussion:
|2016||26||3.3||$8.0 M||$26.4 M|
|2017||27||3.1||$8.4 M||$24.8 M|
|2018||28||2.9||$8.8 M||$23.2 M|
|2019||29||2.7||$9.3 M||$21.6 M|
That value per WAR is more aggressive than we typically use, but may be more in line with market value trends, particularly in a world of increasing television deals. Given what arbitration normally yields for pitching contracts (normally $20M across three arbitration years), it may be safe to assume Odorizzi has surplus value in the neighborhood of $75 M.
Now what could the Rays ask for? The answer is just about anything and everything they want, but if you're curious about top prospect Corey Seager, those numbers were run by Dave Cameron not too long ago using WAR projections from ZiPS:
|2016||21||2.8||$8.0 M||$22.4 M|
|2017||22||3.0||$8.4 M||$25.6 M|
|2018||23||3.3||$8.8 M||$29.1 M|
|2019||24||3.5||$9.3 M||$32.9 M|
|2020||25||3.8||$9.7 M||$37.0 M|
|2021||26||4.0||$10.2 M||$41.4 M|
Even if Seager's eventual arbitration jumps into the $45-50 M range, that's still a lot of trade value for the Dodgers to be kicking around, making a straight up Seager for Odorizzi trade very unlikely. It would require much more from the Rays.
Dave Cameron considered the LA interest in Rays players earlier today and identified Jake McGee and Brad Miller to be likely candidates in a trade.
If Miller was moved, the Rays would be likely to store Seager in Triple-A for a few months, so there would still be a need for a stopgap shortstop. It would also jam the infield prospect rankings, but that's a good problem to have (just ask Chicago).
The interesting quirk here is who would be on the other side of the table. Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker should have a lot of knowledge about Rays players, so negotiations will likely be level headed, and informed by LA's privileged information. Should anything come of this rumor, the Rays should be careful not to be sold a lemon.