Jake Odorizzi

A new day, a new team interested in a pitcher from the Tampa Bay Rays. This time, unsurprisingly, it’s the Texas Rangers.

The team with the best record in the American League are on a short losing streak, and it has a thing or two to do with their shortcomings in rotation. Colby Lewis (6-1, 3.21 ERA) is out till at least mid-August; Derek Holland (5-5, 5.20 ERA) is still an unknown when it comes to his return date; Yu Darvish should come back soon, but he didn’t last long before hitting the DL after his Tommy John surgery in 2015, adding some shoulder problems to the mix.

So it’s easy to see why they’re looking at pitchers. They’ve also been connected to Matt Moore, another Rays player, and also Ervin Santana from the Minnesota Twins, another team occupying the bottom of their respective division. But Odorizzi is probably the best fit for a trade if you’re the Rays. Drew Smyly and Erasmo Ramirez make sense, and teams are obviously looking into their ace, Chris Archer. Alex Cobb might also get thrown around in the mix, although he’s probably not going anywhere until the offseason.

Odorizzi, 26, is 3-3 through 17 starts, with a 3.91 ERA, striking out 8.6 batters per nine innings and getting 2.9 strikes per walk. In the last two seasons, through 33 starts and 35 games overall, he has a 3.80 ERA while striking out 8.4 batters per nine innings. He’s earning $520,000, just over the league minimum. He won’t qualify for arbitration until the upcoming offseason, and is controllable through the 2019 campaign. Odorizzi was acquired, at the time, from the Kansas City Royals, in the massive James Shields/Wade Davis/Wil Myers.

One thing Odorizzi has done very well this season compared to the past is pitching for ground balls. He’s throwing a career-high number of two-seam fastballs (25.3%), resulting in a career-best 39.2% ground-ball ratio. The Rays are likely going to be interested in Jurickson Profar (infielder, batting .327 with .836 OPS), Joey Gallo (LF & 3B) and Lewis Brinson (centerfield), who has yet to make a major league appearance in his career.

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