Minnesota Twins

How Jake Odorizzi accepting his qualifying offer impacts the Twins’ offseason plan

With Jake Odorizzi accepting his qualifying offer, how does that impact the rest of the Minnesota Twins offseason and their chance to repeat last season’s success in 2020?

After what looks like a breakthrough season in 2019, the Minnesota Twins are set to have an active offseason.

One key decision they needed to make was starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who they extended a $17.8 million qualifying offer to after an All-Star season for the American League Central champions.

Ahead of Thursday afternoon’s deadline for players to accept or decline qualifying offers, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Odorizzi was strongly considering taking the qualifying offer from the Twins. Then on Thursday evening, Rosenthal reported that Odorizzi would be accepting the offer and returning to Minnesota.

The free agent market for starting pitchers is set to be weaker a year from now, so the decision to stay with Minnesota on a one-year deal seems to come with an eye on that.

On Wednesday, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reported the Toronto Blue Jays had “legitimate interest” in Odorizzi and met with his agents on Tuesday. So his decision to take a one-year deal to go back to the Twins seems to comes with at least an initial sense of what the market for his services would be.

Odorizzi earned the first All-Star nod of his career this past season, as he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA over 30 starts (159 innings). He set career-best marks in K/9 (10.1) and swinging strike rate (12.7 percent).

Odorizzi’s return for the Twins is not really about his salary or the years of commitment, as much as his place in the 2020 rotation. Ideally he will slot in as the Twins’ No. 3 starter, behind Jose Berrios and an offseason signing like Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner or even Stephen Strasburg.

The odds were against Odorizzi getting $17.8 million per year on a multi-year deal, so if anything the Twins would have been able to compete with any other multi-year offers if they wanted. Getting Odorizzi back on the qualifying offer provides early cost certainty for the team.

The Twins have payroll room and starting rotation spots to fill, so bringing back Odorizzi for $17.8 million in 2020 shouldn’t impede the rest of their offseason plan.

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