The Minnesota Twins have several holes to fill this offseason, and a Jake Odorizzi return makes a lot of sense for both sides.
We are in the thick of the 2020 offseason. While it may not be as dramatic as free agency in the NBA, there is still plenty of intrigue and excitement for teams building their rosters for 2021. The Minnesota Twins are one of those teams that will be busy this winter.
After retooling the starting rotation last offseason, the Twins will be looking to build on that this winter. Outside of Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda. There are a couple holes that needed to be filled for next season’s rotation. But while some moves still need to be made, there’s an easy solution to fill one of those spots. Bring back Jake Odorizzi.
Reason No. 1 for an Odorizzi return: He’s extremely talented
Over the course of his three seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Odorizzi has been a steady arm. In 2018 and 2019 combined, he logged over 300 innings. 2019 was his career year, where Odorizzi earned his first All-Star appearance in a season where he had an ERA of 3.51 in 159 innings and a strikeout rate that was the best he’s ever had.
But what about 2020? Well, it was a frustrating year for Odorizzi. He only pitched four times due to multiple injuries. But in terms of the player overall, the recent success over the last couple seasons before that earns the benefit of the doubt that he’ll bounce back next season.
Reason No. 2 for an Odorizzi return: An Offseason Unlike Any Other
The free agent market this offseason is unprecedented. Sample sizes from last season are small because of the 60 game season. The expanded playoffs could fill a lot of teams with the belief that they can compete in 2021. And with the pandemic’s economic impacts, owners might not be as eager to open up the checkbook compared to past seasons.
And players know how uncertain MLB free agency can be. Sometimes taking weeks before Spring Training in February to finally land on a team. With the extra uncertainty of the pandemic, players could look at the option of signing earlier and taking deals to secure a payday for the next season. There won’t likely be much for multi-year deals but instead players would go for one year “reset” deals and bet on themselves and their situations bouncing back in 2021.
Reason No. 3 for an Odorizzi Return: Hitting the Reset
This seems like the perfect situation for Odorizzi to “reset” with the Twins. The front office likes what he brings to the table and were willing to pay him $17.8 million with the qualifying offer last season. And there are reports that Odorizzi is open to staying in Minnesota. We’ve already talked about the Twins’ interest.
An easy, one-year deal worth around $8-11 million would be a great fit for both sides. Maybe even an option for 2022 if necessary. Odorizzi would get a chance to come back and play for a team that is expected to contend and he already feels comfortable in. Along with having the chance to pitch well and set himself up for a better chance to land a big payday on the open market next winter.
While the Twins aren’t the only team interested in Odorizzi, they have the advantage of saying that he’d continue to be in a great system with manager Rocco Baldelli and pitching coach Wes Anderson, where he’s played the best over his career.
They’d need to move quickly if they want to bring back an arm that’s helped them become a playoff contender. It’s simple, it’s easy and it can help the Twins make another playoff run in 2021 and help Odorizzi better position himself in free agency in 2022.