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Rays’ Jake Odorizzi could be an ideal fit for Marlins, Royals

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The flyball pitcher is sure to fetch some interest this offseason

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

While making the decision on whether to keep, trade or cut Jake Odorizzi, it’s important to keep in mind what kind of market there would be for him.

Looking back at the Drew Smyly trade, the circumstances are fairly similar for Odorizzi. For a more in-depth look at this comparison, you can read this piece on making the decision to trade Odorizzi.

It will take time for Odorizzi’s trade market to materialize this fall if the Rays are indeed intent on trading him and his rising salary. Top free agent pitchers such as Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jake Arrieta would have to sign for teams to look towards mid-rotation trade options.

Then, other controllable mid-rotation type pitchers will become available, saturating the market. Assuming the Rays get through those hurdles and Odorizzi holds the same value as he does at the moment, the teams in need of relatively cheap and reliable innings will have to come out and search for Jake Odorizzi types.

So, who could come knocking for Odorizzi, and what might the Rays get in return?

Miami Marlins

The 2018 Marlins seem like a mystery at the moment. With the franchise apparently hemorrhaging money and needing to cut payroll, they might blow it up and go through a full rebuild, dealing highly valued chips like Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna.

If they choose to keep most of their core together, they could opt to shed money by pairing Ozuna or Christian Yelich to one of their more unsavory contracts to lose the money while holding out hope for contention. The Marlins’ money situation makes an Odorizzi trade hazy, given he’s projected to rake almost $7 million in arbitration earnings this offseason. But, with the Marlins need for quality and innings in their rotation — they ranked 29th in starting pitcher innings last season, 26th in starter ERA and 26th in starter FIP — pulling a trade for a pitcher who relies on fly balls in such a large stadium may be a quality investment.

As for a possible return, the Marlins thin farm makes finding specific prospect fits difficult, but names like James Nelson (3B), Brian Miller (OF) and Merandy Gonzalez (RHP) could come up in discussions

Kansas City Royals

The Royals are in a similar position to the Marlins, minus the new owner and financial crisis. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain are set to test the open market and get lucrative contracts, possibly leaving the Royals in a position where they have to make a decision to try and stay in the wild card race or to go through a full rebuild.

If the 2018 Royals try to win, adding starting pitching is a must. The Royals starters ranked 24th in ERA, 19th in FIP and 26th in innings. Disastrous seasons from Jason Hammel and Ian Kennedy spearheaded a poor overall season from the rotation, and Danny Duffy’s injury problems aided their poor numbers.

The Royals will try and rely on young arms like Eric Skoglund and Jake Junis to put up better results, but the Royals will have to look for outside help to maintain a rotation. Kauffman Stadium’s spacious outfield would be advantageous for an extreme flyball pitcher like Odorizzi.

As for the types of prospects Kansas City may offer, Seuly Matias fits the mold of a high upside teenage prospect that a team may see an expendable because of how far away he is. Don’t be surprised if Khalil Lee, Scott Blewett or Chase Vallot’s names come up.

Minnesota Twins

Among the teams who made the postseason in 2017, the Twins were the biggest surprise. From over 100 losses and a first overall draft pick in 2016, to 85 wins and a playoff game, the Twins accelerated past a down season without any type of depth in their rotation.

With better competition expected to come from American League teams next season, the Twins will need to look for mid and back end of the rotation pitchers. Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios were solid enough over the course of the season, but Adalberto Mejia (98 IP, 4.50 ERA, 4.68 FIP), Kyle Gibson (158 IP, 5.07 ERA, 4.85 FIP) and Bartolo Colon (80 IP, 5.18 ERA, 5.31 FIP as a member of the Twins) weren’t able to give the Twins quality innings.

Adding depth and quality will be a priority for the Twins this offseason, and Odorizzi fits in with the Twins very well. If the Rays do target solid upside players in the low minors, Wander Javier and Alex Kiriloff fit the bill as trade targets. Other prospects that could be discussed and/or traded are Kohl Stewart and Ben Rortverdt.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are the loosest fit among the teams in this piece. The Brewers were surprisingly successful in 2017, winning 86 games and controlling the National League for the first half plus of the season. Back in November, Fangraphs projected the Brewers to win 73 games and come in fourth place.

Despite this team success, the Brewers struggled with rotation depth and will need to add a starter or two in the offseason. Jimmy Nelson’s potentially career-altering labrum tear complicates the issue. Josh Hader and Brandon Woodruff are interesting arms, but hardly reliable for stability and innings in the rotation. Getting an arm to stick behind Chase Anderson and Zach Davies could be a priority this offseason.

Milwaukee’s lack of willingness to deal prospects was clear when Milwaukee passed on the opportunity to add Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana. Convincing David Stearns to trade quality prospects will be difficult. If the Brewers do want to trade prospects for a pitcher in the offseason, players such as Monte Harrison, Lucas Erceg and Freddy Peralta could be part of discussions, along with Jonathan Villar as a cheap buy-low candidate.

Whoever comes knocking in the offseason, it seems likely the Rays will gladly listen to offers on Jake Odorizzi.