While not unexpected, this move sets the stage for an interesting decision for Odorizzi. He’ll have ten days to weigh his options, during which time he can negotiate with the Twins. Odorizzi and his reps at Excel can also chat with other organizations that have interest, helping them to gauge the marketplace, though any deal with another organization would need to await final resolution of the QO.
The Minnesota organization would obviously be glad to see Odorizzi return for a one-year commitment, even at that hefty price point. After all, they could lose not only Odorizzi but also Michael Pineda, Kyle Gibson and Martin Perez to free agency, leaving them with a huge offseason undertaking on the starting staff. If he hits the open market instead of accepting, the Twins will stand to recoup draft compensation if Odorizzi signs elsewhere. They’d receive a choice after the second round — unless Odorizzi secures more than $50MM in guaranteed money, in which case it’d be after the first round. Meanwhile, signing teams will modify their offers (or withhold them altogether) to account for the loss of their own draft capital.
Odorizzi, who’ll turn 30 next March, quietly built himself a strong case as a qualifying offer recipient. The right-hander has long been a durable and generally useful rotation cog, but some mechanical adjustments led to increased velocity in 2019, and his focus on working at the top of the zone helped to up his strikeout levels. When all was said and done, Odorizzi had compiled 159 innings of 3.51 ERA ball with an even better 3.36 FIP. The righty averaged a career-best 10.1 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9, and his 0.9 HR/9 mark was particularly impressive for a fly-ball pitcher, considering the 2019 juiced ball.
The top of this year’s pitching market features bona fide aces Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg, while Zack Wheeler and Madison Bumgarner are both in the next tier of arms. There’s an argument for Odorizzi to at least approach that second tier, but at the very least, he’s among the more appealing arms in the market’s third tier.