Jake Odorizzi had a rough 2020 season, but his broader resume is enough to bring some early interest in free agency.
Jake Odorizzi had a rough 2020 campaign, as a back issue, a blister on his pitching hand and finally a chest contusion after taking a line drive limited him to four starts and 13.2 innings. But according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Minnesota Twins are interested in the free-agent right-hander.
Odorizzi has spent the last three seasons with the Twins. His best season came in 2019, when he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA and a career-best 10.1 K/9 over 30 starts (159 innings) while earning his first career All-Star selection. From 2014-2019, dating back to his time with the Tampa Bay Rays, he posted a 3.88 ERA (4.09 FIP) while averaging 30 starts and 165 innings per season.
Jake Odorizzi looks like a buy-low candidate
The Blue Jays have been a rumored suitor for Odorizzi, and MLB Trade Rumors projected them as his landing spot on a three-year, $39 million deal. The Giants and Mets saw Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman accept $18.9 million qualifying offers, but both seem inclined to add additional arms to their starting rotation. Odorizzi accepted a qualifying offer from the Twins last offseason, which has him hitting the market untethered to draft pick compensation now.
The Twins are in a pretty good position with their starting rotation, with Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda to go with some viable depth. Bringing Odorizzi back on a reasonable deal shouldn’t be ruled out, but it’s possible they just get outbid in both money and years.
Odorizzi is a perfectly good mid-rotation starter who will eat innings and deliver at above replacement level (12.4 bWAR from 2014-2019, 13.7 career fWAR). What that will bring to him in what’s lined up to be a tight free agent market is unknown, but there is certainly a buy-low opportunity after a snake-bitten 2020 season.