GM: Rays had depth for big-picture moves

February 18th, 2018

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Chris Archer told reporters he was excited about the arrival of first baseman C.J. Cron. However, the right-hander expressed disappointment on Sunday morning when discussing the Rays trading Jake Odorizzi and designating Corey Dickerson for assignment.
"Definitely two losses," Archer said. "But two tough losses yesterday betweeen 8 and 10 p.m. [when Saturday night's moves took place], that was rough."
Rays get Cron from Halos; Odorizzi to Twins
The Rays traded Odorizzi to the Twins for Minor League shortstop Jermaine Palacios, Minnesota's No. 27 prospect per MLB Pipeline. They also acquired Cron from the Angels for a player to be named, while parting ways with DH/left fielder Dickerson.
"I would point to a few things," Rays GM Erik Neander said. "One, I would point to our depth in these two transactions. They came from areas where we do have depth [with starting pitching and left-handed-hitting outfielders].
"If we're running guys back to [Triple-A] Durham that we believe merit time in the big leagues, that's not necessarily something bigger picture, when you're trying to grow and develop a young group, that might not be in our best interest. The same goes on the left-handed outfielder side. You have to be mindful of depth where you have it."

Odorizzi won his arbitration case with the Rays last week, the second year in a row the right-hander has done so, earning a $6.35 million contract for 2018. Meanwhile, Dickerson was set to make $5.95 million in '18. If the Rays do not manage to trade him, which is the team's expressed desire, they will absorb roughly $1 million in termination pay. Cron will make $2.3 million in 2018.
"The economics are always something for us -- any team, you're paying attention to it, how you allocate money, how you allocate playing time," Neander said. "This was an opportunity for us on the position-player side to effectively make a swap. It allows [us] to be a more functional roster, and it gives us a player with another year of control [in Cron]. And one that [his right-handedness] fits, and in terms of the upside fits."
Included in the depth of starters, the Rays have Archer, , , Jake Faria, and . In addition, they have prospects , , and waiting in the wings.
Dickerson was deemed expendable since the team already has three left-handed-hitting outfielders in , , and .

As for not receiving a Major Leaguer for Odorizzi and instead receiving a low-level Minor Leaguer, Neander noted that Palacios has a high ceiling. Acquiring a high-ceiling player that the Rays can slot lower in the farm system works better, given the glut of near-ready prospects higher up.
"In terms of timing, certainly inserting another shortstop, infielder, especially a right-handed hitter, into our young mix in that Triple-A, Major League area, probably isn't something that would be a wise use of our resources," Neander said. "Time will tell how that plays out."
What will the Rays miss by not having Odorizzi?
"There was a level of certainty that Odi brought," Archer said. "He's a model of consistency. And he's an ultra competitor. At times, guys have to pitch through minor injuries. You knew Odi was going to take the ball if he was healthy. If he was 80 or 90 percent."
"Odi's been talked about being traded for awhile. You'd think that a pitcher of his caliber would return something special. And maybe this kid we got is special."