With Mike Clevinger out for the 2021 season, the San Diego Padres are reportedly interested in free-agent starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi.
As the final pick in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft, Jake Odorizzi was part of the trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010.
At the time, a 20-year-old Odorizzi was pitching for Single-A Wisconsin, posting a 3.43 ERA in 23 games during the 2010 season. He made his big league debut with the Royals in 2012 as a September callup. After the season, he was shipped off to Tampa Bay as part of the James Shields trade.
With Tampa, Odorizzi blossomed into an above-average starter, posting a 3.82 ERA in 127 appearances — including 124 starts. After five years with the Rays, Odorizzi was again traded in February 2018 to the Twins. While his 4.49 ERA was nothing special, Odorizzi logged the best groundball rate in the big leagues while fanning 8.9 batters-per-nine innings. In 2019, he earned his first All-Star selection, spinning a 3.51 ERA in 30 starts.
Odorizzi re-signed with the Twins on a one-year deal for the COVID-19 shortened season, and the 30-year-old may be looking for a long-term home. Of course, the Padres need immediate help while Mike Clevinger recovers from Tommy John surgery. A starting pitcher has been a priority for Padres’ general manager, A.J. Preller, this offseason, so Odorizzo obviously fits the bill.
Negotiations for Starter Jake Odorizzi are heating up with several teams still in the mix incl Tor, LAA, Min, SDP, Bos, and NYM – and a sleeper Tampa. With that level interest, look for him to get a multi year deal. @MLBNetworkRadio
— Jim Duquette (@Jim_Duquette) December 15, 2020
According to StatCast, the big righty primarily features four pitches in his arsenal. He seldomly uses his curveball these days, bringing his slider back in 2020. Over a much larger sample size in 2019, Odorizzi yielded a .209 average on his four-seam fastball, which averages around 93 MPH. Despite the low average, batters made their hits count off the fastball, with 11 of Odorizzi’s 16 home runs allowed coming off this pitch.
Odorizzi doesn’t have overpowering stuff in his repertoire, but he has shown the ability to dominate games. In September 2018, he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against a high-powered Yankees lineup.
“I just kind of took over the game,” Odorizzi said. “I was shaking him (Willians Astudillo) off a lot, but we’d never thrown to each other in a game. So I was just calling my game out there. I told him, ‘Don’t take any offense to me shaking a ton, but I know these guys. I’m just going to throw what I feel. Don’t take offense to me, shaking and shaking, don’t get upset with me.’ He didn’t, so it was good.”
Everywhere he’s been, his pitch usage has been tweaked. For example, in 2016 with the Rays, Odorizzi was throwing a sinker fastball nearly 30 percent of the time, yielding a .235 average against. But with the Twins, the sinker was dropped from his arsenal, as the slider usage was increased.
Odorizzi is going to generate a lot of interest from teams who need starting pitching this offseason. For the right price and contract length, he’d be a great addition to the Padres on a one or two-year deal, but as reported, his camp is looking for a multi-year deal.
Padres writer/editor for East Village Times. LA Kings writer/editor for Hockey Royalty. IBWAA member.