7:05pm: The Blue Jays, who were reportedly interested in Odorizzi during the offseason, remain in the mix, Heyman tweets. Other teams besides Houston and Toronto are also involved, per Heyman.
1:09pm: The Astros are among the teams “looking at” free agent right-hander Jake Odorizzi, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link). Houston recently lost Framber Valdéz to a broken finger. There’s been no definitive word on how long Valdéz will be out, but Heyman reported yesterday the initial evaluation suggested he’ll require surgery, which could prove to be season-ending.
Odorizzi is the top starter remaining in free agency, so it’s natural the Astros would check in with his representatives. Adding him would undoubtedly help the current roster; as Ben Clemens of FanGraphs explored yesterday, Houston’s projected rotation now consists of Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers Jr., José Urquidy, Cristian Javier and Luis García. That’s a talented group but one light on major league track record at the back end. Beyond that quintet, Brandon Bielak and Forrest Whitley look like the top depth options. (Justin Verlander likely won’t pitch in 2021 after undergoing Tommy John surgery last September).
Teams are often forced to rely on seven or eight starters over the course of a typical season. This year, they’ll be faced with unprecedented challenges managing workloads coming off a shortened campaign. Greinke’s 67 innings in 2020 led the current projected rotation, so it’d be difficult to count on all (or perhaps any) of the group to go 160-plus innings in 2021.
Odorizzi himself is coming off an injury-ruined year. Three injured list stints (for an intercostal strain, a chest contusion, and blisters, respectively) kept him to just 13.2 innings across four starts for the Twins. That diminished workload probably limits Odorizzi’s innings total this year as well, but he’d add a usually-durable, productive starter to the mix. The 30-year-old averaged 165-plus innings per season from 2014-19 with a cumulative 3.88 ERA and solid strikeout (23%) and walk (8.2%) rates. A few of those years were spent with the Rays, where current Astros general manager James Click worked in the Tampa Bay front office.
That all makes for a logical match on paper, but it’s questionable whether the organization is willing to meet his asking price. Odorizzi was reportedly seeking a three-year deal in the $13MM – $15MM range annually earlier this offseason; he apparently remains content to wait out the market rather than move off that price point. That’s not an outlandish ask for a mid-rotation starter, but concerns about the luxury tax could keep the Astros from spending at that level.
Houston’s current $181MM payroll, as projected by Roster Resource, seems more than manageable for an organization that was set to spend over $210MM on players last season before prorating salaries. However, Heyman notes the Astros’ luxury tax ledger, which uses contracts’ average annual values rather than current year salaries, sits about $13MM shy of the first threshold ($210MM). It’s possible Houston could look into a longer-term deal with Odorizzi that lowers the AAV for tax purposes. Even that type of arrangement, though, would likely push the Astros right up to or over the tax barrier, perhaps necessitating other payroll-shedding moves to stay beneath the threshold and leave room for any in-season acquisitions.
It’s arguable the win-now Astros should be willing to pay the marginal taxes in order to take their best shot at a World Series in 2021. That doesn’t seem likely, though. Houston reportedly wasn’t particularly active in the bidding for free agent center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., another obvious roster fit, because of luxury tax concerns. As Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic noted last month, exceeding the threshold would reduce the draft pick compensation Houston could receive for their slate of potential qualifying offer recipients (Carlos Correa and McCullers among them) next winter. Houston management apparently found that a deterrent, particularly with the organization being dealt significant draft penalties in 2020-21 due to the sign-stealing scandal. An Odorizzi signing would likely raise the same concerns.
But have they looked at Cole Hamels?
Rick Porcello would keep them below the cap.
So would BIG SEXY!!!!
(And he might pitch better than Porcello….)
Probably would at this point.
I’d rather have Bartolo Colon on the mound than Rick Porcello.
Question: I realize it’s not the same but with all the talk about lost innings last year? why weren’t pitchers throwing simulation games to keep their arms in condition? Even with social distancing I read how a few were doing it.
Makes a lot of sense. Need a starter. Has ties to Click.
Another story from an agent from heyman.
Thomas E Snyder
I think I read somewhere that Greinke has already had a qualifying offer.
And the Astros didn’t sign Bradley because they have a CF on the way–Pedro Leon.
Ah yeah, had completely forgotten about the Dodgers’ QO for Greinke. Thanks for the heads up!
I feel like they should do what the Mets did with Walker and add in a player option to take the AAV down so they can stay under the luxury tax threshold.
Like 3Y/$39M with a $1M player option for the 4th year gets you 4/40 or AAV = $10M and then you’re under the threshold. Unless he completely explodes he’s never taking that $1M player option so if they’re willing to do 3/39 they might as well structure it that way and take care of the luxury tax concerns.
That’s not exactly how it works – if I’m not mistaken the aav of the guaranteed non option years hits the luxury payroll for those years; then the option years stands as a separate 1 year luxury hit… What the mets did w walker is use the buyout o the option to defer money in a way that doesn’t hit the luxury tax… Cbt considers it a 2 year 17 mil contract for 8.5 aav…3 mil buyout on player option means it’s a 2 year 20 mil offer or 10 aav saving them 1.5 mil a year in luxury tax hits, with a 3 mil luxury tax hit in that 3rd year if he turns down the option (which he will unless he’s really bad since hel only net another 3 mil by opting in).. it’s basically deferring money from luxury tax to the option years through use of a buyout
That actually makes way more sense. I thought CBT considered player options guaranteed $, but the way you described it is much more reasonable.
Just curious as I am not sure if this would be allowed. Let’s say a team gives a player a 5/$33M offer paying him $15M for each of the first 2 years, $1M for each of the next 3 years but an opt-out after year 2. Would the AAV be based on 5/$33M? Is this a loophole in the CBA?
It’s a pity no one in the Astros front office understands anything about the luxury tax and its short and long term implications.
They’re probably too cheap to hire anyone good.
Thomas E Snyder
I’m sorry they rejected your application.
This has to be sarcasm. It’s too dumb not to be.
I’m saying 1yr deal, 15 mil.
If Verlander and Greinke are showing signs that they want to vamoose: 2 year, 32 mil
Both are free agents next winter so the Astros have to prepare for the possibility of losing both next winter
Houston may blow it all up this offseason. Have some dignity and shut their own window. Bet they’ll go as high as 18 mil if they really want him, but only for 1 season
Man, 18 million? What a world we live in.
If he were to sign for that, no one could ever say the owners are cheap.
Where did you get 18 million from?
There is still some pitchers out there Rick Porcello, Homer Bailey, Aníbal Sánchez, Cole Hamels, Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija, Trevor Cahill no need to pay for an overpriced pitcher.
Neither Leake or Sanchez seem that interested in playing right now. Odorizzi or Porcello or both would give them innings
In Odorizzis case, would you really want to pay $15 million/yr for “innings”?
Cap & Crunch
If Odorizzi can give you league average pitching with innings, that’s certainly worth $15M/yr. I’d have given it to him without question last offseason. His 2020 makes it a lot harder to pay him that much though.
Those guys are the equivalent of what’s left on the last day of a garage sale.
None of those guys move the needle like Odorizzi.
Odorizzi doesn’t move the needle like Odorizzi. Take a moment and go through the pitchers cubswin posted and you will see Cahil, Sanchez and Leake are all pretty comparable to JOdo.
Odorizzi has more to bring at this moment than those guys.
I’m not a huge fan of Odorizzi but that list of pitchers consists of pitchers who are either very old, quite bad, or in some cases both.
Imagine their rotation with BOTH Odorizzi and Valdez come mid-season (hopefully):
Add in a hopeful Whitley or Javier and you’ve got a dang good rotation come October. Still a good team in H-town.
I’m not gunna let you get away with putting Greinke as a number 2.
Valdez: “I’m Dirty Dan!”
Greinke: “No, I’M DIRTY DAN!!!”
Possibly more like a 38 year old Greinke and a whole lot of hope?
Ah the mantra of late 90’s Phillies fans: “Curt Schilling and pray for rain”
Doesn’t really help for a team that plays with a retractable roof.
At $15 million for Odorizzi is no worse than Atlanta paying Drew Smyly $11 million or the Orioles/Angels paying Alex Cobb $15 million. Out of the three Odorizzi has a much better chance at taking the ball every 5th day
Thomas E Snyder
The correct phrase is: “Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain”.
True. But i was only quoting the more recent Phillies mantra
“Spahn and Burdette and hope it’s wet.”
…….and Lou had a good one.
@Rsox, the Angels are only paying 5m of Cobbs 15m final year contract. For the record. I’d take Cobb at 5m, over Odorizzi at 15m all day.
Cap & Crunch
Should we willingly partake in actions tho were being “NO Worse” is the bar? I think thats the real Q?
I am aware of that thats why i said “Orioles/Angels”
When it comes to comparing salaries for certain players or certain types of players you almost have to be willing to “partake” in such actions. Unfortunately when player A sees that player B got signed to a certain amount higher than what he has been offered, yet player A is a better player than yes sometimes its “no worse” than what the other guy got
Yeah doesn’t look that solid to me. Kinda like saying Alvarez is in conversation for a batting title based on his 369 at bats in 2019.
There’s not a pitcher on that list I’d want starting game one of a playoff series
I don’t want to work
I want to bang on the can all day
I don’t want to play
I just want to bang on the can all day
Ever since I was a tiny boy
I don’t want no candy
I don’t need no toy
I took a bat and an old trash can
I bang on that thing ’til I got blisters on my hand because
I don’t want to work
I want to bang on the can all day (yes I do)
I don’t want to play
I just want to bang on the can all day (that’s right)
Poor gothamcityriddler just can’t give it a rest.
Someone sign this man.
Why would they go over the luxury tax threshold to sign JBJ?
Thomas E Snyder
…when the Astros already have a center fielder in camp. #PedroLeon
“It’s arguable the win-now Astros should be willing to pay the marginal taxes in order to take their best shot at a World Series in 2021.”
Why do MLBTR writers keep doing this?
Passing judgment on what front offices should be doing financially, without knowing anything about their financial situation or their short, mid, and long-term plans – other then some published figures.
This reminds me of when I carried newspapers at age 11, and thought that individual homeowners should re-pave their driveways or re-landscape their front yards. Sure, kids think that way. Adults know that there are too many considerations that they know nothing about, and withhold judgement.
Yes why would baseball analysts analyze baseball?
Still seems weird to me they are planning to play 162 regular season games. Greed, stupidity, or reckless disregard for pitchers arms? Take your pick.
It really doesn’t matter because, Dodgers are gonna repeat as champs again ^.^
Thomas E Snyder
When was the last time the Dodgers repeated as champs?
Meh, it doesn’t matter because I’ve seen the Lakers win 6 rings in my life.
Circling back though, it feels food knowing were champs and our team is stacked. 7 aces in the RoRo
Gonsolin is an ace ? Last I checked hes a #3 or 4 starter
Buehler (A), Bauer (1A), Kershaw (2A), Urias (3A), May (4A), Price (B), and Gonsolin (B+). Yikes.
I think you way over evaluating the Dodgers pitching staff. None of Urias, Gonsolin, or May have a full season as a starter at the ML level. Price hasn’t pitched in over a year. And the Bauer is overrated based on a 10 game sample. Don’t put that much stock into statistics from a 60 game season
I can’t wait till they choked again just like they did in the last 162 season hahahahahahahaha LA blows !!!!!!!!!!
3 World Series appearances in 4 years bro. Just shut up and watch us reign again it’s about another dominant Era.
Sure if we cheated too we’d have back to back to back to back championships ^_^
No you wouldn’t. You still would have had every one of David Roberts bad pitching decisions that still would have caused them to lose to the Astros/Red Sox in the World Series and the Nationals in the NLDS
I’m wondering if it’s being overblown about limiting pitchers so much in ’21. Not saying a guy will or should go out there and throw 240 innings, but players’ prep for impending seasons is based on their offseason, Spring Training, and in-season regimes, not necessarily the prior year.
I mean 15 years ago guys pitched way more innings so you would think guys could do 200, but at the same time almost every pitcher is max effort now, I guess thats the difference
15 years ago guys were getting that miracle rub and juicing on the low. Guys like Eric Gagné and Alex Rodriguez, Rodger Clemons.
I think the Jays are the perfect fit for Odorizzi, but they’ll have to fight with the Astros over him. One team is trying to achieve contention, and the other team is trying not to fade away from it.
Yep, make him an offer he can’t refuse…especially with Pearson now on the limp!!
If they limit the players then they should limit the salaries.
It’s the way of the real world…i.e. the one the paying customers live in. They get their hours cut back, they get paid less. Those on straight salary are asked to work more hours for the same pay; and those that own the business work more hours, bring in less money, and have more headaches.
Caveat – the above paragraph does not apply to government workers.
Cap & Crunch
Odorizzi is the prettiest girl in class when there are No pretty girls in the class
Somehow, by the end of the semester, you’ll talk yourself into her being legit ……
Then a year later, you’ll see her passing in the halls and wonder what the hell you were ever thinking
Haha, I like this analogy, normally I hate almost all of them. Even with all the podcasters, I don’t need someone explaining Sheet like I’m in the 3rd grade, but I like this one Cap. It fits well.
Odorizzi is asking too much AAV or term or he would be signed already. Way too many clubs need a starter right now for him not to be signed. They are not willing to pay his price. Like JBJ, either Odorizzi lowers his ask or a desperate club steps up.
think it thru
Whoa hold on there pard-I had to put the glasses back on…
Blue Jays in on Odorizzi along w Hous and TOR???
think it thru
OIC now Houston in on Odorizzi along w the ASTROS
Cole Hamels better. Underrated rn
Jake just signed with Houston.