Minnesota Twins have inquired about Pirates Gerrit Cole and Rays Jake Odorizzi
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins have continued to explore ways to improve the pitching staff 2018. Two new names have surfaced in trade rumors.
The Minnesota Twins have continued to turn over as many stones as possible this offseason. We have heard that the Twins front office is willing to spend, willing to go after Shohei Ohtani, and have explored trades for a couple of young closers.
Mike Berardino has now let the baseball world know the Twins have also been calling on the price to acquire a couple of starting pitchers.
Pittsburg Pirates Gerrit Cole is a former first overall pick of the Pirates in 2011. 2017 was a bit of a rough season for Cole, but that shouldn’t be a reason to completely disregard Cole as a quality starter. Cole has turned in two 200 inning seasons during his career, and before this season had held ERAs of 3.22, 3.65, 2.60, and 3.88.
Cole throws a fastball that settles in around 96 mph on average and he complements that with some off-speed stuff about 8 mph slower. That arsenal has given Cole the ability to strike out close to 9 batters per nine innings over his career.
The other name in this rumor had a similarly down season in 2017. Jake Odorizzi pitched 143.1 innings with a 4.14 ERA and 8.0 SO/9. The previous two seasons Odorizzi was able to get some better results with 3.35 and 3.69 ERA. Odorizzi will likely never record a ton of strikeouts but has proven to be effective over the years.
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A concern for Odorizzi is he is home run prone and that took a jump up this past season as he went from 1.39 HR/9 to 1.88 HR/9. He is also a flyball pitcher which has been good in his current ballpark and the Rays outfield behind him. A positive development for Odorizzi in 2017 is his whiff rate was as high as it has been in his career at 11.2%.
As mentioned in Mike Berardino’s tweet, it isn’t only Cole and Odorizzi’s numbers that are attractive but their contracts as well. Both are cheap as far as quality pitching goes and are under control for 2 more seasons.
The goal for the Twins rotation this offseason is to add some depth behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios. Translated, be better than Kyle Gibson et. al. Both of these two pitchers qualify as that. Cole has potential to even challenge Santana and Berrios for top of the rotation honors.
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It will be interesting to see if any serious talks occur about these two pitchers as the winter meetings approach. Value always depends on the trade package, but either of these pitchers would be an upgrade over many of the starters in 2017 for the Twins.