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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: Odorizzi signs with Houston

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Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

Rays News

Rays have the day off today, after dropping a game to the Twins yesterday. On the pitching side, Wacha, Reed, and Baz (see below) looked good, McHugh and Hess less so. On offense, Austin Meadows hit a loud home run.

Joey Wendle stans, you can read more about him and listen to an interview that includes a fun story about getting used to the Tropicana Field roof.

Here is some Wander video for your enjoyment:

While all eyes are on the shortstop of the future, don’t sleep on our shortstop of the present. Willy Adames had a tough postseason at the plate, but he’s shown real growth in his defense and we know the guy can hit. He’s also the sort of person who is discussed as a clubhouse leader even at age 25. Marc Topkin discusses ($)

Pitching prospect Joe Ryan has great fastball. Does it matter why it works?

Mike Petriello is, to my mind, one of the most perceptive writers on MLB.com, so if he says the Rays shouldn’t be counted out then by golly I’m not counting the Rays out. Brewers and Giants are his other “sleeper” teams.

Fun interview with Rich Hill, who was actually Kevin Cash’s teammate in Boston:

Ryan Zimmerman with a really poor take on the factors that lead to success or failure in baseball. Are people still really talking about “analytics” as though it’s not part of every team’s arsenal?

Old friend alert: We figured that Jake Odorizzi would sign with the first team to lose a starter to injury. That team was the Houston Astros; two days after they learned that Framber Valdez (whose devastating curve ball Rays fans may remember) would miss the season with a bad finger fracture, and whose top pitching prospect, Forrest Whitley, is likely to need Tommy John surgery. They have signed Odorizzi for two years plus an option, a contract reportedly worth about $30 million.

Also, old friend alert, Matthew Liberatore, who was traded for Randy Arozarena, had a rough spring outing. While it’s nice to win trades, I would still hope this is rust from a long time of inactivity and nothing more:

Around the League

Baseball’s COVID-19 testing program continues to show pretty low levels of infection; we’ll take a .03% positivity rate.

That’s the good news. But our COVID concerns are clearly not behind us: Several players (including two from the Cleveland team) have been kicked out of camp for violating COVID protocols, and eight Astros pitchers are in quarantine for COVID-related reasons (the league doesn’t say whether the players have tested positive or been exposed to someone who did). Looks like they may need Odorizzi to pitch ALL the innings.

A profile of Bianca Smith, hired as a coach by the Boston Red Sox ($).