According to a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney, the SF Giants have had contact with free-agent starter Jake Odorizzi.
The SF Giants starting rotation got great news last week when Kevin Gausman accepted his qualifying offer. Still, with more work to do, the team’s front-office have reached out to at least one prominent free-agent starter. According to Buster Olney of ESPN (Subscription required), the Giants are one of four teams to have “checked in” on veteran hurler Jake Odorizzi this offseason.
Olney lists the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, and Minnesota Twins as the three other teams that have made contact. There are no surprises on this list. Odorizzi spent the last three years with the Twins and the Blue Jays and Mets (like the Giants) need to upgrade their starting rotation depth to be competitive in 2021.
Since debuting with the Kansas City Royals in 2012, Odorizzi has built a consistent and reliable track record. In nine seasons, he has registered a 3.92 ERA (4.12 FIP), 1,24 WHIP, and a 22.7 percent strikeout rate against an 8.2 percent walk rate.
The biggest blip came at the worst possible time though. This season the 30-year-old battled a stubborn blister issue and easily had his least productive season. He managed just four starts and posted a 6.59 ERA (6.12 FIP) across 13.2 frames.
While free agency is typically an exercise of “what have you done recently,” teams could be willing to overlook his 2020 campaign as a one-off. For one, blisters do not tend to have the long-term impact associated with most inuries. Furthermore, with so many peculiarities in the 2020 season, teams are already inclined to downplay a lot of this season.
Other than this season, Odorizzi has been predictably boring for most of his career. Sure, it would be great to have a pitcher author a career year out of nowhere, but that is not Jake Odorizzi. Rather, he has consistently been a mid-rotation arm that can soak up innings.
Given that the Giants rotation still has some holes to fill, Odorizzi is the type of pitcher they should be targeting. Looking to add depth and sure up the middle of the rotation, he seems well suited to address their biggest need.
Interestingly, Odorizzi could be in the market for a multi-year deal or only interested in a one-year pillow contract. MLB Trade Rumors projected right-hander to score a three-year, $39 million contract on the open market, but that feels high even with his long track record. The Giants have shied away from multi-year deals since Farhan Zaidi took over the reins and it’s hard to believe Odorizzi is the type of guy that would move the needle.
The SF Giants still need to add a lot of innings to next year’s rotation, and bringing in a pitcher like Jake Odorizzi would help in achieving that end. While it’s unclear how his market will play out, it’s clear the organization has at least some interested in the former Minnesota Twins starter.