The Houston Astros alleviated some of their pitching concerns over the weekend by agreeing to a two-year deal with All-Star right-hander Jake Odorizzi.
The financial terms of the agreement remain undisclosed, but the deal reportedly comes with a player option for the 2023 MLB season.
Odorizzi entered free agency after a struggling 2020 in which he managed just four starts and a 6.59 ERA while dealing with rib injuries and blisters. This influenced his market value significantly and caused him to remain available longer than anyone expected.
Still, it isn’t hard to see why the Astros decided to take a gamble. Odorizzi is just one season removed from an All-Star campaign with the Minnesota Twins in which he had a 15–7 record alongside 3.51 ERA and career-high 178 strikeouts.
The 30-year-old pitcher is expected to be slotted high in Houston’s rotation, filling the void left by ace Justin Verlander and presumably Framber Valdez. Verlander will be out for 2021 after getting Tommy John’s surgery back in September, while Valdez fractured a finger on his pitching hand during Spring Training.
Jake Odorizzi has a 62-56 career record with 3.92 ERA and 995 strikeouts. He was selected in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers but left the franchise before making his majors debut. Odorizzi played his first MLB game with the Kansas City Royals and later suited up for the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins.