There was no way RHP Jake Odorizzi would have expected to spend Super Bowl Sunday as a Ray.
With all the talk about them needing to cut payroll, with limited options for short-armed teams on the free-agent market, with the relative affordability of his salary this year ($6.05 million/$6.35 million pending arbitration) and next, Odorizzi was surely going to be traded by now.
Except in this odd offseason, where the free-agent and trade markets remain in an unprecedented deep freeze, he hasn't been.
So for now he hangs out at the new house he and Carissa bought in north Tampa. Enjoys a workout routine expanded to six days a week and incorporating Pilates training to boost strength and functionality. Has plans to move into the rental he lined up for spring training in Port Charlotte. And checks his phone a lot to see if anything has changed, knowing it may take a couple of free-agent signings to get the trade market moving.
"Still happy to be here; it's just the waiting game," Odorizzi said. "If something happens, sooner than later is always helpful for the player. But I'm prepared, we've got our place for spring training, we're all ready to go. So that's our mind-set, to get ready for the season."
There has been chatter about interest from the Cardinals, Twins and, in what would be a circle-of-life return to his original organization, Brewers, whose depth of outfield prospects makes them a good match with the Rays.
Realistically, he knows what's coming.
"There's always that unsureness, especially with us and when people get to where I'm at in contract status and years left remaining (until free agency), this is typically the time (to be traded)," he said. "We saw (Jeremy Hellickson), David (Price), (Drew) Smyly, (Matt) Garza, like everybody who gets to that point.
"We know it's a pretty strong reality of how things go."
In most seasons, teams have made their major moves by now. This year, with major signings at the least bumping against the start of spring training, trades may go deep into March.
At some point, Odorizzi almost certainly will be gone.
And it won't be much of a surprise.
NO AVERAGE JOE
Former Rays/now Cubs manager Joe Maddon last week in Tampa was honored as Dreammaker of the Year by the Children's Dream Fund. Maddon was so impressed by teenaged speaker Cole Eicher that he invited him to Arizona for the Cubs' annual spring training head-shaving event that benefits pediatric cancer causes.
The Rays are signing Cs Adam Moore and Xorge Carrillo to minor-league deals with camp invites. … Word is that an announcement on the Ybor stadium site as the team's preferred option is being planned for late this week. … Wednesday, with principal owner Stuart Sternberg on hand, the 20th anniversary uniform patch and some themed promotional items will be revealed. … CF Kevin Kiermaier tweeted that he had his fifth random drug test of the offseason Friday, and "I think I'm just gonna offer the people my guest bedroom since they just love comin (sic) to my residence this much." … New pitching coach Kyle Snyder took a cross-country trip to visit with Blake Snell (Seattle), Matt Andriese and Jake Faria (SoCal), Nathan Eovaldi and Austin Pruitt (Houston). … More than 30 players are expected at the Feb. 10 FanFest. … Eovaldi has the tools, and incentives in his contract, to be an impact reliever, but he wants to stay a starter and said he has heard no different from the Rays. … With OF Peter Bourjos getting a minor-league deal from the Cubs, unsigned Rays free agents are RHPs Alex Cobb and Sergio Romo, 1Bs Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison and INF Trevor Plouffe. Signed are RHPs Tommy Hunter (Phillies) and Steve Cishek (Cubs), LHP Xavier Cedeno (White Sox) and C Curt Casali (Rangers). … Among more changes at the Trop, a new security firm, Whelan, will replace Sentry. … In moving the Rays from 19th to seventh in his farm system rankings, ESPN's Keith Law cited the improvement on the position player side and says they may be "a little heavy" on corner bats. … RHP Ryne Stanek chose Dan Lozano's MVP Sports Group as his new agents after longtime rep Jason Wood was fired by his CSE firm for moral/ethical issues. … New Fox Sports Sun TV reporter Michelle Margaux grew up in the Sacramento, Calif., area and went to University of San Diego for crew but gave up the sport to focus on her broadcasting career. … In addition to hiring Rays fan favorite OF/DH Jonny Gomes as a rookie league hitting coach, the D'backs promoted ex-Rays RHP Burke Badenhop to special assistant to the GM.
Marc Topkin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays