The Houston Astros have reportedly signed former Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi on a two-year deal. The right-hander has been the longest outed free agent arm this offseason, but after Framber Valdez’s injury, this signing makes the most sense. Odorizzi was a member of the 2017 Tampa Bay Rays that included James Click in the front office, Ryne Stanek, Steven Souza Jr. and Steve Cishek in the field.
What does Odorizzi’s signing mean for the Astros?
The Astros looked to be done signing players once they brought in Cishek on a minor league deal, but injuries to Valdez and Forrest Whitley including the eight pitchers in quarantine, they had to act now. Houston’s pitching room is nothing like it once was, but this All-Star signing will help build depth as the three starter for the next two seasons. While also having Michael Brantley back next year, 2022 could be the Astros last season trying to go big before reverting to minor league development.
Odorizzi battled an injury in 2020 that only led to four starts for the right-hander. Through 13.2 innings, he posted a 6.59 ERA that possibly led to the Twins not looking for his return. Although having a banged up season, 2019 was better for Odorizzi, as his ERA was below the four mark and he was averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings. The former All-Star will look to be in the middle of the rotation for the next two season, but this could also hint to the Astros letting pitchers like Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander or Lance McCullers Jr. walk, although their experience is highly needed.
Here are the full numbers on the deal:
Signing bonus – $6 million
2021 – $6 million
2022 – $5 million
2023 player option – $6.5 million (max out at $12.5 million)
2023 buyout – $3.25 million (max out at $6.25)
Escalators to max out 2023:
This deal comes with a player option for a third year, and with the additions of incentives, he could make in the ballpark of $30 million in his first two seasons. This move also hints to the Astros having to trade or DFA a player, if Valdez is not moved to the 60-day injured list. The deal comes out to three-years, $23.5 million; this puts the Astros right below the luxury-tax threshold. According to Ken Rosenthal, Odorizzi’s contract leaves Steve Cishek and Steven Souza Jr. not making the roster due to money issues.
2022 incentive breakdown:
Trevor Plouffe was also a member of the 2017 Tampa Rays like Jake Odorizzi and three other newly signed Astros.