The Minnesota Twins made moves over the Winter with an eye toward contending for a playoff spot during this season.
The Minnesota Twins traded Jermaine Palacios, their 27th ranked prospect at the time, to acquire Jake Odorizzi from the Tampa Bay Rays in February. Odorizzi’s arrival brought along some hope for Twins fans that last season wasn’t an aberration.
Unfortunately, almost everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong for Minnesota during the first half of this season. As we near the trade deadline, the Twins have a few big decisions to make. Do they hold onto their “controllable assets” or do they maximize their value and make trades? One of those “controllable assets” is Odorizzi, who could find himself in a new uniform by the end of the month.
Although he hasn’t pitched all that well this season, there will be a robust market for Odorizzi’s services. He is a veteran pitcher who has spent the bulk of his career in the AL East, one of the toughest divisions in MLB. Odorizzi can help stabilize the back-end of the rotation for a contending team.
However, there are also plenty of reasons to keep Odorizzi in the Twin Cities through the 2019 season. He has value even if his numbers are high and he’s an affordable veteran who has had MLB success.
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Well, should Minnesota trade Odorizzi?
The easy answer to that question is yes. This team has only a slight playoff chance left and there are less than two weeks until the deadline passes. Trading veterans is how a small market team builds a winner and Minnesota has done well with that strategy in the past.
Odorizzi won’t deliver any type of trade package to get overly excited about. On top of that, the Minnesota Twins are not far from being a legitimate threat in the American League. Injuries and regression have plagued this team during this season so that has contributed to the Twins struggles all season.
This is why the Twins should keep Odorizzi
Although having a prospect or two that could possibly have an impact someday would be nice, Odorizzi can have an impact now. However slight the chance at the playoffs are, Minnesota cannot wave the white flag. That would be a proverbial slap in the face for Twins fans who have stayed loyal through this rough stretch.
Minnesota has been without Byron Buxton throughout the majority of this season. His absence hurts more than just the lineup, the pitching staff probably misses him the most. He will return at some point and that will help this team defensively.
Odorizzi can help the Twins make things interesting for Cleveland down the stretch this season. His 4.54 ERA through 20 starts is less than impressive as well as his 4.0 walks per nine innings. However, he does currently average 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings, a career high, and his 1.4 home runs per nine innings average is back to around his career norms.
Odorizzi also has one more season of arbitration and Minnesota could use him in the rotation. The Twins have José Berríos and Kyle Gibson under control for next season. Ervin Santana will be a free agent at season’s end as well as Lance Lynn.
Fernando Romero has made his case for a spot in the rotation next season and that leaves room for two more. Michael Pineda should be back for next season so keeping Odorizzi will give Minnesota a formidable rotation.
The fact that Minnesota made the playoffs during the 2017 season isn’t the aberration. In fact, the aberration is that the Twins haven’t been very competitive during this season. There is way too much talent for this team to remain this bad. If the turnaround doesn’t happen over the next few months, it will occur next season. The present may seem bleak, but the future is bright.