The Twins provided some clarity Monday as to the direction they're headed with the 2020 pitching staff as they extended a qualifying offer to Michael Pineda while allowing Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez to become free agents.
Minnesota could still bring back Gibson and/or Pineda, but at a reduced annual price compared to their qualifying offer mandates. For Gibson, the one-year qualifying offer would've cost the Twins $17.8 million.
That's the same amount the Twins will pay Odorizzi in 2020 if the right-hander, who was an All-Star last season, accepts the offer. It's likely that Odorizzi will accept the deal because any team that signs him has to give up a draft pick to the Twins, which makes it unlikely that another team will attempt to poach him from Minnesota.
Assuming Odorizzi returns (he has 10 days to accept the offer), he and Jose Berrios are the only surefire starters in Minnesota's 2020 starting rotation.
- Berrios: 14-8, 3.68 ERA with 195 strikeouts in 200.1 innings.
- Odorizzi: 15-7, 3.51 ERA with 178 strikeouts in 159 innings.
Gibson had the best numbers of his career in 2018 only to post a 4.84 ERA while battling an E.coli infection for the majority of this past season. Gibson, if healthy, could be a bargain if he pitches in 2020 the way he did in 2018 when he finished with a 3.68 ERA in a career-high 196.2 innings.
Pineda was arguably Minnesota's best starting pitcher from May on until he was slapped with an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a banned diuretic. He still has 39 games to serve on his suspension, meaning he isn't eligible to pitch until the week of May 10 next season.
The Twins had a $7.5 million club option they could've given Perez, but the lefty will instead go back into the free-agent pool.