Will the Twins submit a qualifying offer to Jake Odorizzi?

Odorizzi has had an up and down 2019 season.
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Jose Berrios is the only current member of the Twins rotation under team control for next season. Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, and Kyle Gibson will all be able to test the free agent waters. This could leave the Twins scrambling to fill their rotation with free agents and other players currently in the organization. If the Twins want to maximize their current window, it could make sense to for the team to submit a qualifying offer to Mr. Odorizzi.

Qualifying Offer Process

As part of MLB’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams can make a one-year “qualifying offer” to a player that has never previously received a qualifying offer and only if that player has been on the team’s roster for the entire season. This means in-season acquisitions are ineligible for a qualifying offer.

This qualifying offer is worth the mean salary of the 125 highest-paid players in the big leagues. During last off-season, MLB’s qualifying offer was $17.9 million, which was up $500,000 from 2018. Last season, seven players received a qualifying offer and the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu was the only player to accept the offer. In the seven previous offseasons with this system in place, there have been 80 qualifying offers issued, and only six (Brett Anderson, Jeremy Hellickson, Neil Walker, Colby Rasmus, Matt Wieters, and Ryu) have been accepted.

All-Star First Half

Odorizzi put together a strong first half of the season to be selected to his first All-Star Game. An injury caused him to miss the game, but it still doesn’t take anything away from what he was able to do in the first half. Plus, it also allowed teammate Jose Berrios to make his second All-Star appearance.

In 17 first-half starts, Odorizzi posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP. He added a 96 to 30 strikeout to walk ratio while striking out nearly 10 batters per nine innings. This was in a first half where baseballs were flying out of the park at a record rate.

He won 10 straight decisions from April 17 through July 20. During that stretch, he held opposing batters to a .209/.261/.289 (.550) batting line which helped him post a 1.52 ERA and a 70 to 15 strikeout to walk ratio. He was one of the best pitchers for a good stretch of the first half and he helped the Twins to stretch their lead in the AL Central.

Second Half Struggl

It would have been almost impossible for Odorizzi to keep up his first half pace during the second half of the season. His ERA has rose to 4.28 and his WHIP has jumped up to 1.47 in nine games started. He has struck out 49 batters and limited them to 19 walks, but hitters have found a way to get to Odorizzi more regularly in the second half.

Entering play on Monday, opposing batters are hitting .271/.341/.453 (.794) with 23 extra-base hits. He only allowed 19 extra-base hits in the first half and that was in eight more starts than the second half. According to Baseball Savant, his hard-hit percentage and exit velocity are all near the league average. He has still been able to keep his K% and xBA above league average and that has helped him to be successful. He’s been able to do this with a fastball velocity and fastball spin rate that are below league average.

Odorizzi might not be the most likely candidate for a qualifying offer, but it might make sense for the Twins to add some rotation stability to next season. He has made $21.45 million through his career so a $18 million payday might be tough for him to reject. He’s never made more than $9.5 million in a season, but will the Twins front office think he is worth the amount invested?

This story originally appeared on Twins Daily and was shared with Bring Me The News through an affiliated partnership. 

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