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Jake Odorizzi photo

Jake Odorizzi, a former Brewers draft pick, was traded by the Rays to the Twins on Saturday night.


PHOENIX — Jake Odorizzi won't join the list of former Brewers reuniting at Maryvale Baseball Park this spring.

The 27-year-old right-hander was Milwaukee's first-round pick in the 2008 draft and later, one of four players shipped to Kansas City for Zack Greinke.

He'd been rumored as a target for Brewers general manager David Stearns, but instead of returning to Milwaukee, he'll head instead to Minnesota, which acquired him Saturday night in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Odorizzi cost the Twins minor league infielder Jermaine Palacios, a 21-year-old from Venezuela who spent all of last season in A-ball, batting .296 with 21 doubles, 10 triples, 13 home runs and 67 RBI.

General manager David Stearns was believed to be dangling some of his surplus outfielders as potential trade bait so it would be easy to look at Domingo Santana, Keon Broxton or Brett Phillips and think the Brewers missed an opportunity.

Trades, though, are never that simple, general manager David Stearns said Sunday.

"It's always challenging to judge what other teams think of a particular prospect or a particular player and get a sense of what the value is they place on the acquisition," Stearns said.

Not one to offer too many details into his plan, Stearns wouldn't confirm whether the Brewers were a player in the Odorizzi talks — or any number of the other players Milwaukee has been linked to this offseason, including Odorizzi's teammate, Rays' ace Chris Archer.

The team also reportedly showed interest in free agents Yu Darvish, now with the Cubs, and former Cubs ace Jake Arrieta but only Stearns knows how serious any of those discussions got.

"I'll say we've explored a variety of starting pitching options out there," he said. "(We) have a pretty good sense for what the market is for available starting pitching."

That's not to say Stearns and his team are done making moves. The free agent market has been painfully slow this winter. Players have started to reach deals and as exhibition games begin, more will likely follow suit.

That should help clear up a clogged market, both for free agents and potential trade markets, but Stearns is quick to point out that the Brewers won't make a move just for the sake of adding an arm.

"Our stance is if we can make an acquisition that we think meaningfully upgrades our team at a responsible level, it's something we're open to," he said. "For us to spend resources, whether its financial or prospect value, to bring somebody in, it's going to have to be somebody who moves the needle."

Adding a pitcher was already high on the wish list before Jimmy Nelson was lost to a season-ending shoulder injury in September. When he needed surgery and was projected to miss "a chunk" of the regular season, starting pitching was expected to be a top offseason priority, followed closely by second base.

Stearns did sign one starter in right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who will join Chase Anderson and Zach Davies as the only 'locks' for the rotation.

But for the time being, the remaining spots are up in the air.

Brent Suter, Aaron Wilkerson, Brandon Woodruff and Junior Guerra are among those already on the roster in contention for a spot and non-roster invitees Yovani Gallardo and Wade Miley also in the running.

"We have confidence in the group we have and think there's a relatively high bar to get above," Stearns said. "They're guys we think can eat innings for us and continue to develop."

The Brewers open their Cactus League slate Friday with split squad contests against the Cubs at Maryvale and against the Giants in Scottsdale.