Twins could reunite with former All-Star to help add pitching depth

A familiar face could be returning to Minnesota soon.
Divisional Series - New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins - Game Three
Divisional Series - New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins - Game Three / Hannah Foslien/GettyImages

If there's one thing the Minnesota Twins love, it's finding a down-on-his-luck veteran who will come cheap and has high upside potential.

From Nelson Cruz to Joey Gallo, and now Carlos Santana, the Twins typically fill their veteran flier quota on sluggers but the endless quest for pitching help has often led them down that road too. It appears, with the loss of Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda, that Minnesota will once again be bargain shopping ahead of Spring Training.

Minnesota needs to make at least a few more moves before the start of the season, as signing Santana can't be the last one. Nobody thinks the Twins will reel in a big fish like Cody Bellinger or Blake Snell, but something needs to happen.

In true Twins fashion, the rumor mill is blowing make-good style veterans their way with a familiar one being among the most recent crop.

Twins could reunite with Jake Odorizzi to help add pitching depth

According to Darren Wolfson, the Twins are among the teams interested in Jake Odorizzi and were in attendance for one of his live pitching sessions earlier this offseason.

Odorizzi is no stranger to Minnesota, having pitched for three seasons for the Twins as someone the team hoped would be what Sonny Gray eventually became. He was acquired from Tampa Bay in 2018 and soon developed into an All-Star a year later, posting a 4.01 and 1.277 WHIP over his first two seasons.

Things dropped off in 2020, though as he started the year on the IL and then suffered a series of freak incidents that took him out of the picture. He was struck in the chest by a line drive in his first start back from injury and only pitched 13.2 innings across four starts.

As the Twins are wont to do, attention will likely be focused on how well Odorizzi pitched during his All-Star season in 2019. He finished the year 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA and 3.36 FIP -- the best of his career. Perhaps most importantly, he logged 323.1 innings over his first two seasons in Minnesota which is the type of workhorse production the Twins have been looking for to replace Sonny Gray's lost innings.

Of course, that's the type of pitcher Odorizzi is hoping to return to as things have been much tougher for him recently.

He sort of bounced back in Houston but only managed to pitch 106 innings for the Astros and Braves in 2022 before needing to arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder after getting traded to Texas in 2023. The last time Odorizzi saw action he had a 4.41 ERA and he's now five years removed from having pitched the type of innings load the Twins would need to eat into the lost production from Gray.

Still, there's familiarity between the two sides and his market won't be very crowded. Odorizzi won't be an expensive gamble for the Twins to take either, which is yet another indication that he could be someone the team brings to Spring Training to see if he can make an impact.

Odorizzi isn't alone in this make-good veteran category of pitchers the Twins seem interested in. Both Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen are candidates to be signed before Opening Day, as the Twins seem determined to add at least one more piece of pitching depth to the roster.

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