Jake Odorizzi is coming off a brutal 2020 run with the Minnesota Twins. He was limited to four starts due to numerous injuries and posted a 6.59 ERA across those outings. At the same time, he’s a year removed from posting a 3.51 ERA and 178 strikeouts across 30 starts in the 2019 Major League Baseball season.
Odorizzi has something to prove and should cash in on a short-term, prove-it contract like the ones fellow right-handers Chris Archer (one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Tampa Bay Rays) and Corey Kluber (one-year, $11 million deal with the New York Yankees) corralled this offseason given his 2020 campaign.
Jake Odorizzi is the most compelling starting pitcher remaining on the free agent market and is capable of returning to being a reliable, middle-to-top-of-the-rotation starter. Here are three teams who should pursue his services.
It has been a rough offseason for the A’s with Marcus Semien, Liam Hendriks, and Robbie Grossman departing the Bay Area. The A’s can continue to retool by adding Odorizzi to manager Bob Melvin‘s pitching staff.
Outside of Chris Bassitt, the 2020 A’s had no starting pitchers who brought the heat every fifth day. While Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas could very well bounce back next season, Odorizzi would prop up their rotation with a veteran commodity — albeit he’s coming off a turbulent season of his own.
The 30-year-old hurler has a consistent three-pitch arsenal (four seamer, split-fingered fastball, and slider), which has helped him be an efficient, ground-ball pitcher. Odorizzi would be a backend starter in Oakland. Mevlin could begin the year with the veteran in his rotation and pull him for one of their younger arms (a la A.J. Puk) if he struggles. Another option is to have him come out of the bullpen as a long reliever, moving him into a new role.
The A’s would be taking a flier to beef up their 2021 roster while keeping Odorizzi on a competitive ballclub. No harm is done either way.
The Reds haven’t entered a full-fledged rebuild — yet. As is, they still have a competitive team, and Jake Odorizzi would be a competitive, short-term transaction.
Even with Trevor Bauer leaving town for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Reds still have a sturdy rotation which includes Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Tyler Mahle. That said, Reds manager David Bell could use an extra rotation arm. Odorizzi would round out their rotation and could gradually return to form in a low-pressure role. Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson helped get Gray and Bauer back on track. Maybe he could do the same with Odorizzi?
If he returns to his old ways, Odorizzi would help the Reds continue to sport one of the premier rotations in MLB. The organization appears to be playing a take-it-by-day approach this offseason, as they’ve lost Bauer and traded closer Raisel Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels while supposedly being in the mix for standout shortstops.
The National League Central is the St. Louis Cardinals’ to lose, but maybe the Reds could give them a run for their money with some void filling and fine-tuning?
The Brewers are coming off an eye-rolling season low-lighted by Christian Yelich‘s offensive struggles and the team being swept by the Dodgers in the NL Division Series. As previously mentioned, the Cardinals are in the driver’s seat to win the NL Central, primarily due to the acquisition of star third baseman Nolan Arenado. The Brewers have the best chance of crashing their party, and signing Odorizzi is a move that would be right up their alley.
In previous offseasons the Brewers have signed stopgap starters on short-term deals to address their rotation (e.g. Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez). Odorizzi is coming off a rough year, will subsequently come in at an affordable rate, and is capable of better performance.
While their rotation has been a guessing game in recent memory, the bright spot for the Brewers is they now have their ace in Brandon Woodruff. Meanwhile, Corbin Burnes thrived as a primary starter in the sport’s 60-game regular season, posting a 2.11 ERA and 88 strikeouts across 12 appearances, nine of which were starts. They need others (Adrian Houser and Josh Lindblom) to pick up the slack and/or add starters who will give them length. In said scenario, as well as Yelich getting back to his All-Star ways, the Brewers have a team that should at least compete for the NL playoffs.
Jake Odorizzi would be an ideal veteran addition to manager Craig Counsell‘s rotation.