Mets Rumors: Should we be excited about the interest in Jake Odorizzi?
By Tim Boyle
The latest New York Mets rumors have once again linked the club to free agent starter Jake Odorizzi. Should fans get excited?
The name “Jake” is pretty important to New York Mets fans. So, to see Jake Odorizzi appear in recent Mets rumors, fans feel a kinship at the prospect of adding someone with the same namesake as their current ace, Jacob deGrom—at least this is what I’m thinking has fans interested in Odorizzi.
Odorizzi isn’t the big splash free agent pitcher we had promised ourselves the club would sign this winter. A lifetime 3.92 ERA, 105 ERA+, and a single All-Star appearance on his resume, he’s a very average or slightly above pitcher.
I understand the Mets can’t sign everyone nor should they ignore these second and third-tier options behind Trevor Bauer. Odorizzi’s presence in Mets rumors shows the organization is doing its homework, but it doesn’t necessarily get me too excited.
We can wash out last year and the four starts Odorizzi made for the Minnesota Twins. I’m not putting much stock into what anyone did in 2020.
The year prior, Odorizzi had one of his most effective campaigns. In 30 starts, he was 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA. His strikeout numbers were impressive at 10.1 per nine innings of work. In this regard, it trumped all other years of his career.
The bulk of Odorizzi’s major league career took place as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. In just under 700 innings with them, he was 40-37 with a 3.82 ERA. It’s good but also not going to leave me eager to see him pitch in Flushing next season.
It’s no secret the Mets need to add at least one more starting pitcher to the organization. Behind deGrom, they have Marcus Stroman and David Peterson as their best options. Noah Syndergaard should return at some point and then there’s a potential battle between guys like Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and maybe even Robert Gsellman.
Personally, I don’t think any of those three gets too many innings as a starter in 2021.
According to Jim Duquette, the Mets’ pursuit of Odorizzi isn’t one they will win without a fight. Six other teams are interested in his services on a multi-year deal. Ranked as one of the better starting pitchers in free agency this offseason despite a down brief year in 2020, it should come as no surprise to see him as one of the most sought-after arms.
Offseason Mets rumors have included just about every name so far. I suspect until Odorizzi signs a contract, he’ll remain a target of the Mets. But how excited should we actually be?
Depending on how you feel about Stroman, the club may already have its number two. This would make Odorizzi a three or four in the rotation. Considering this, he’s actually a pretty good fit.
Pitching has been what has won or lost the Mets games over the last few seasons. When things are going right, the team has had success. When they’ve gone wrong (see 2020 for more details) we can count them out of the playoff picture.
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Odorizzi might not be flashy and his name may already conjure up headlines of “stink” whenever he does pitch a dud. However, as far as what the Mets need, he might be exactly it.