Another free agent starter is off the market. Jake Odorizzi has agreed to a two-year deal with the Houston Astros, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. The pact comes with a player option that Odorizzi could exercise to return for a third season in 2023.
Right-hander Jake Odorizzi and the Houston Astros are in agreement on a two-year deal with a player option, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN. The last big free agent is off the board.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 6, 2021
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, while the full terms remain unknown, the belief is that incentives could bring the deal to roughly $30 million over two seasons. Of course, the pact also includes a buyout and potential 2023 salary, so it will be interesting to see how much is guaranteed and how much Odorizzi can receive through incentives and the player option.
Full terms on Odorizzi deal aren’t known but with incentives he has a chance to make $30M over 2 years that would include a buyout on the 3rd year player option #Astros— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 6, 2021
Odorizzi, 30, was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft. Two years later, he was part of a six-player swap that sent him to the Kansas City Royals, with whom he made his big-league debut in 2012. His stint with the Royals lasted just one year as he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in a seven-player deal. He spent five years with the Rays and impressed, though he was never an All-Star. He was then traded to the Minnesota Twins ahead of 2018. Solid over three years in the Twin Cities, Odorizzi’s best year came in 2019, when he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA, earning him an All-Star selection.
2020 was a tough year for Odorizzi. The pandemic resulted in a shortened season, and a plethora of injuries made his year even more brief. Between a right intercostal strain, chest contusion, and blister, the Illinois native threw just 13.2 innings, surrendering 10 runs on 16 hits. He struck out 7.9 batters per nine innings and walked a career-best 1.98 per nine.
The Astros’ willingness to employ Odorizzi for up to three years at a contract that presumably maxes out at roughly $40 million shows trust and likely set them apart from other suitors not interested in offering more than two years. Better yet, the deal makes sense for the Astros, who had a fairly quiet offseason and suddenly needed rotation help after Framber Valdez suffered a finger fracture that could require season-ending surgery.
2020 was a shaky season for Odorizzi between injuries and poor metrics. However, he is just 30 years old and owns a 3.88 ERA in 991.2 innings from 2014 to 2019, so the Astros should be optimistic that the right-hander can return to his pre-2020 form and dominate on the mound.