Even after signing left-hander J.A. Happ to a one-year, $8MM contract late last month, the Twins may not be done addressing their rotation. They remain in touch with one of their own free agents, right-hander Jake Odorizzi, and were in attendance for righty Jake Arrieta’s throwing session last Friday, La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports. The Twins will stay in touch with Arrieta, according to Neal.
Odorizzi spent the previous three seasons with the Twins and combined for a 4.11 ERA/4.34 SIERA in 337 innings. In his best season, 2019, Odorizzi earned an All-Star nod and pitched to a 3.51 ERA/4.14 SIERA with a a career-best 27.1 percent strikeout rate and an 8.1 percent walk rate over 159 frames. The Twins then handed Odorizzi a $17.8MM qualifying offer, and he accepted it instead of trying his luck in free agency.
Minnesota was no doubt expecting another quality showing from Odorizzi when it gave him the QO, but it wasn’t to be in 2020. Injuries, including to his back, chest and right middle finger, limited him to 13 2/3 innings of 10-run ball. Odorizzi doesn’t seem to be a free agent at the ideal time, then, but considering his positive track record with the Royals, Rays and Twins, he could still land a solid multiyear payday this offseason. Other than the Twins, Jon Morosi of MLB.com lists the Angels, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Giants and perhaps the Mets as teams vying for the soon-to-be 31-year-old.
Either Odorizzi or Arrieta would fill out a Twins rotation that currently has Happ, Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda and Randy Dobnak comprising its top five. Of course, unlike Odorizzi, Arrieta probably isn’t in line for better than a one-year contract. While Arrieta is a former NL Cy Young winner (2015) with the Cubs, he’s now on the market after a pair of disappointing seasons with the Phillies. Arrieta, 35 in March, put up his worst ERA since 2012 last year (5.08) in 44 1/3 innings. He also logged a meager 16.8 percent strikeout percentage – one of the worst of his career – though he did record an above-average walk rate of 8.4 percent and a 51.8 percent groundball rate.