The MLB Hot Stove has lacked much sizzle this winter, but negotiations for one starting pitcher appear to be heating up.
According to former MLB GM Jim Duquette, the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays – a sleeper team – are all in the mix for starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi.
With so many teams showing interest in the 30-year-old right-hander, Duquette believes a multi-year deal is likely.
Odorizzi has spent the last three seasons in Minnesota, but made just four starts and pitched a total of 13.2 innings last year due to injuries – which included a blister on his throwing hand and taking a line drive off the chest from Alex Gordon.
The year prior, Odorizzi was an All-Star for the first time and struck out a career-high 178 batters in 159 innings pitched while finishing with a 3.51 ERA and 15-7 record. He had an ERA+ of 129 and a FIP of 3.36.
All aforementioned teams have been linked to multiple pitchers on the market. The Mets, Angels and Padres have all been linked to top free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer, so Odorizzi could be a contingency plan for those teams.
While Mets fans dream of adding Bauer to a rotation that already boasts Jacob deGrom, Odorizzi would provide the team depth and give them the chance to spend money in other areas of need, such as the outfield and bullpen.
The Red Sox have made it clear starting pitching is a priority this offseason. They have been linked to Corey Kluber, Rich Hill and Japanese ace Tomoyuki Sugano. GM Chaim Bloom also has a previous connection to Odorizzi, having worked in the Rays front office when the right-hander spent five seasons in Tampa before he was traded to the Twins.
The Rays, meanwhile, are looking to replace Charlie Morton and rumors continue to swirl about whether or not they will trade Blake Snell. A reunion with Odorizzi would help fill that void.