Despite an injury-shortened 2020 season, right-hander Jake Odorizzi is getting a lot of attention on the free agent market. The Giants, Blue Jays, and Mets have all shown interest in Odorizzi, according to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (subscription required), and the Twins are also keen to re-sign their former All-Star.
Between a back strain, a blister on his throwing hand, and a chest contusion after being struck by an Alex Gordon line drive, Odorizzi ended up pitching only 13 2/3 innings for the Twins last season, and he didn’t see any action in Minnesota’s two games the wild card series. Nonetheless, Odorizzi still ranked 11th on MLBTR’s list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents, due to both the rather minor nature of those 2020 injuries and his overall solid track record. Between 2014-19 with the Rays and Twins, Odorizzi averaged 165 innings per season with a 3.88 ERA, 8.7 K/9, and 2.79 K/BB rate.
This isn’t the first time Odorizzi has been linked to the Jays, and in fact Toronto was Odorizzi’s predicted landing spot on the MLBTR top 50. The Blue Jays have already re-signed Robbie Ray and are known to still be looking for pitching to bolster a rotation that doesn’t offer much certainty beyond Hyun Jin Ryu. San Francisco and New York are also looking to add arms this winter and have also made early pitching moves, both via the qualifying offer — Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman each accepted the one-year, $18.9MM deals to remain with their former teams.
Beyond their shared need of pitching, these are also three of the teams thought to have some extra spending capacity this winter. The Giants don’t have much salary committed beyond 2021, the Jays have even lesser salary obligations and corporate ownership, and the Mets are expected to spend big (if not “like drunken sailors“) now that Steve Cohen has bought the team. It wouldn’t be surprising if we hear of these three specific clubs checking in on more or less every available pitcher on the free agent and trade markets as the Giants, Jays, and Mets gauge how to best deploy their financial resources.
Minnesota doesn’t have quite as glaring a pitching need as the other three clubs, since the Twins have Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Randy Dobnak, and a full season of Michael Pineda lined up for their 2020 rotation. Still, retaining Odorizzi would only further strengthen that depth as the Twins continue to look for the right roster mix to finally break their postseason losing streak.