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Odorizzi sparking trade interest

MLB.com

We can count on one hand the number of days remaining before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Yet many teams are still in pursuit of a viable back-end starter. The answer could lie in Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

According to The Boston Globe, the Yankees, Cubs, Brewers, Orioles and Twins are among clubs interested in the 27-year-old Odorizzi. Among elite free-agent starters, Jake Arrieta is still on the market. The next tier of arms includes free agents Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn plus Odorizzi, who would be a good fit for teams looking to cement an already powerful rotation.

We can count on one hand the number of days remaining before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Yet many teams are still in pursuit of a viable back-end starter. The answer could lie in Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

According to The Boston Globe, the Yankees, Cubs, Brewers, Orioles and Twins are among clubs interested in the 27-year-old Odorizzi. Among elite free-agent starters, Jake Arrieta is still on the market. The next tier of arms includes free agents Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn plus Odorizzi, who would be a good fit for teams looking to cement an already powerful rotation.

Odorizzi dealt with hamstring tightness and a back strain in 2017, when he pitched to a 4.14 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with 127 strikeouts in 28 games (143 1/3 innings). Looking past that off-year, the righty posted a 3.69 ERA with 166 strikeouts in 33 games (187 2/3 innings) for the Rays in '16. In four full big league seasons, he owns a 3.81 ERA, starting an average of 30 games (167 innings) each year.

On the brink of his age-28 season, Odorizzi is entering his second year of arbitration after making $4.1 million last year. He's under club control through 2020. The Boston Globe reported that the Rays appear ready to unload Odorizzi, despite consistent trade buzz surrounding ace Chris Archer.

On Thursday, MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported in The Athletic: "Most of the teams pursuing free-agent right-hander Yu Darvish consider Odorizzi a backup plan, sources say. Other teams seem unlikely to get serious about trade candidates such as Odorizzi and [Collin] McHugh until they exhaust lesser free-agent possibilities such as righty Andrew Cashner."

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Odorizzi