The Minnesota Twins have filled one spot in their pitching rotation for 2020 as the right-hander accepted a one-year, $17.8 million deal.
The Minnesota Twins have taken the first step into filling one of four open spots in their starting rotation and it just so happens that it’s a familiar face. One week after making a qualifying offer, Jake Odorizzi accepted a one-year, $17.8 million contract on Thursday ensuring his return to Minnesota in 2020. The news was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
On the surface, this deal looks a little strange. Odorizzi was brilliant for the Twins in the first half of the season, posting a 9-2 record and 1.92 ERA in his first 13 starts, but couldn’t keep things going thanks in large part to a disastrous July where he landed on the injured list with a blister and went 2-2 with a 7.43 ERA in five starts.
The rest of the season went alright for the right-hander after that, but he never regained the form that saw him go deep into ballgames. Although he pitched well in the Twins’ series-clinching defeat to the New York Yankees last October, there were questions whether the Twins believed they would get the All-Star caliber pitcher that showed up in the first half of the season or the pitcher that regressed in the second half.
Either way, the one-year deal works well for both sides. The Twins had four starters from last season’s roster hit free agency this season with Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez also hitting the market, but Odorizzi was the most successful pitcher of the quartet.
While the two sides could hammer out a long-term deal, the Twins don’t have a long-term commitment in case things go sour in 2020 and Odorizzi can attempt to cash in again next winter when the free-agent crop for starting pitchers will be much weaker.
With Odorizzi back in the picture, the Twins will look to turn their attention to some of their other targets which have included New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler, who the Twins spoke to at the general managers meetings earlier this week. In other words, the return of Odorizzi should kick off a busy offseason for the Twins.