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Jake Odorizzi Accepts Qualifying Offer, Will Return To Twins

Jake Odorizzi has accepted the Twins' qualifying offer, meaning he will return to the Twins starting rotation in 2020. The news means that the Twins can now plan on Jose Berrios and Odorizzi in their starting rotation, but still have one to three more spots to fill through trades, free agency or promotions from within the organization.
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Odorizzi's decision means he will return to the Twins for at least one year, at a cost of $17.8M. It is also possible that the Twins could work out a longer contract with Odorizzi, locking him up for more years and more guaranteed money, but at lower cost for this year. That is probably unlikely. The Twins are likely happy with a one-year commitment, and it would certainly pay for Odorizzi to gamble on repeating this season's exceptional performance.

The decision is a natural result of the leverage created when the Twins gave Odorizzi a qualifying offer last week. A qualifying offer is a way teams can get compensation for a free agent who leaves their team. It’s similar to a “franchise tag” in the NFL. A team can give a qualifying offer, which has two parts, one pretty good for the player and one very bad for the impending free agent:
  • It gives the player an offer for a one-year contract at the median salary of the top 100 players in MLB, which this year is $17.8M. The player can accept or reject this offer. That’s the pretty good part.
  • The very bad part is that if the player rejects the offer, any team that signs him will need to give up a second- or third- round draft pick, which hurts the player’s free agent value.
Odorizzi, who is only 29 years old and posted a 3.51 ERA last year, would probably have been offered a three- or four- year guaranteed contract in free agency if no draft pick was attached. But by giving him a qualifying offer, he became less appealing than at least a few other similar free agents who have no such draft pick attached, like Cole Hamels and Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel had a qualifying offer last year, and not only didn't get a multi-year contract, he had to wait until June to sign a one-year (or two-thirds-of-a-year) deal.

Provided Odorizzi has a similar year next year, he should be in a much stronger position next offseason. A player can get a qualifying offer only once in his career, so Odorizzi will be free and clear next year. He’ll still only be 30 years old, and (hopefully) a stronger resume, setting him up for a long-term deal. Maybe most importantly, it’s a weaker free agent class; this 2020 class is unusually strong. Add all that up, and you'll see why we predicted Odorizzi's return last week.

With one formerly open spot now filled in their rotation, the Twins essentially have $52M (per year) to spend on two more free agent starting pitchers, as detailed in our Twins payroll analysis. For an even more detailed breakdown of the payroll and the other options they might have, you can also download our 2020 Offseason Handbook for whatever you feel it is worth.

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33 Comments

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MMMordabito
Nov 14 2019 04:31 PM

Awesome!

 

... and Wheeler rejected, so he's officially there for the picking.Go get it done Falvine!!

    • alphanumeric, mikelink45, bighat and 4 others like this
Win win all around! Hard not to love this development.
    • beckmt, Danchat, LA VIkes Fan and 3 others like this

I think this acceptance lends credence that TD's "crowdsourced" estimate for a 3 year contract (at $42M?) might have been closer than some of the higher estimates out there. When the QO gives you almost half of what you'd get for 3 years, bet on yourself and take it, and try again the next year. (Doesn't rule out negotiating an extension, for that matter.) Conversely it was a good QO for the team to offer, but close.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and MN_ExPat like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Nov 14 2019 04:46 PM
I agree, a win all around, and... highest single-season salary for a Twins pitcher, ever!
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

Good news. And, imo, good decision. Next year's pitching FA class is pretty meh, and he won't have a QO, and he'll be 18MM dollars wealthier, give or take.....

    • gunnarthor, beckmt, tarheeltwinsfan and 1 other like this

 

I think this acceptance lends credence that TD's "crowdsourced" estimate for a 3 year contract (at $42M?) might have been closer than some of the higher estimates out there. When the QO gives you almost half of what you'd get for 3 years, bet on yourself and take it, and try again the next year. (Doesn't rule out negotiating an extension, for that matter.) Conversely it was a good QO for the team to offer, but close.

 

I'm not so sure of that. He gets nearly 18MM, and is a FA next year, in a bad class, and he won't have a QO next year. This might be a "bet on yourself" play.

    • beckmt and wabene like this

The oft unmentioned team benefit of a QO, is that if a player accepts it, he has huge motivation to have a great season before he hits the free agent market for good. The Twins still need a couple of arms ahead of Berrios and Odorizzi to be competitive in the postseason.

    • TwinVike61 and alphanumeric like this

I think this acceptance lends credence that TD's "crowdsourced" estimate for a 3 year contract (at $42M?) might have been closer than some of the higher estimates out there. When the QO gives you almost half of what you'd get for 3 years, bet on yourself and take it, and try again the next year. (Doesn't rule out negotiating an extension, for that matter.) Conversely it was a good QO for the team to offer, but close.

 

I'm not so sure of that. He gets nearly 18MM, and is a FA next year, in a bad class, and he won't have a QO next year. This might be a "bet on yourself" play.

Thought that's what I was saying...

    • Mike Sixel, tarheeltwinsfan and MN_ExPat like this

What I really like about this is that it shows Odorizzi is confident he will be good next year. I think it's time for the Twins to go all in for a title shot! At least as far as spending in free agency. Need to keep some high end prospects to replace players we will not be able to afford in a couple years.

    • bighat likes this

Glad Odorizzi is back in the fold. Wish it were a longer term contract or the team could negotiate something longer at least a 3-4 year deal. 

    • bighat and wabene like this

This is great news.The Twins now have two of their top three starting spots filled.Need two more.If they don't get a fifth starter, have no problems letting the four young kids battle it out in spring training.

 

Also hope the Twins talk to him about an extenstion.But doubt any of those discussions will take place until closer to ST when they know how the winter settled out.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and wabene like this
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nicksaviking
Nov 14 2019 06:28 PM
This could also indicate that at least as far as Odorizzi’s research goes, free agent pitchers may not be getting paid as much was the pundits expect.

Which is also good for the Twins.
    • Mike Sixel, Major League Ready, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this

Glad Odorizzi is back in the fold. Wish it were a longer term contract or the team could negotiate something longer at least a 3-4 year deal.


I like that it's only one year. We need arms badly and Odorizzi is a good start. I like him but we need to try to improve the rotation at the top. We need to spend our money and/or tradeable prospects on top of the rotation guys that would precede Odorizzi in the rotation. Same for Berrios. If Berrios is our ace, than we should still be looking for an ace.

We were desperate to fill out the rotation this year with only Berrios coming back, so this is great news. But now we need to add to the top of the rotation making everyone better. Cole and Strasburg may prefer other destinations to Minnesota, so then we have to go hard after Wheeler and Ryu, get one of those guys hopefully, or even better both.

Hamels doesn't have a QO and wouldn't cost a draft pick. Same for Ryu. Here's a rotation with 3 FAs (4 if Odorizzi included) but only one draft pick lost:

Wheeler, Berrios, Odorizzi, Ryu, Hamels.

It's going to cost more than $52 million, but Wheeler and Ryu would be on multi year deals and put us in good position when Odorizzi leaves next off season.
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tarheeltwinsfan
Nov 14 2019 06:53 PM

YES ! And that's all I've got to say about that.

    • rdehring likes this

I am happy we have another pitcher in the stable. Just need at leasttwo more really good arms. Kind of hoping they can bring back Pineda and then get a top guy in free agency.Need two more solid arms to be able to compete would be nice if one was as a top of the rotation starter.

    • Hawkeye12, puckstopper1 and Vanimal46 like this
Awesome. Great start to the off-season. I hope he has a good start to the year and is rewarded with a long term deal by the Twins. Seems like a pretty good dude that competes every night.
    • wabene and rdehring like this

No Will Smith though.3 years for $40 million with Atlanta.

 

I like that it's only one year. We need arms badly and Odorizzi is a good start. I like him but we need to try to improve the rotation at the top. We need to spend our money and/or tradeable prospects on top of the rotation guys that would precede Odorizzi in the rotation. Same for Berrios. If Berrios is our ace, than we should still be looking for an ace. We were desperate to fill out the rotation this year with only Berrios coming back, so this is great news. But now we need to add to the top of the rotation making everyone better. Cole and Strasburg may prefer other destinations to Minnesota, so then we have to go hard after Wheeler and Ryu, get one of those guys hopefully, or even better both. Hamels doesn't have a QO and wouldn't cost a draft pick. Same for Ryu. Here's a rotation with 3 FAs (4 if Odorizzi included) but only one draft pick lost: Wheeler, Berrios, Odorizzi, Ryu, Hamels. It's going to cost more than $52 million, but Wheeler and Ryu would be on multi year deals and put us in good position when Odorizzi leaves next off season.

Personally, I think $52M is high - especially for multi-year commitments.Remember, the young bats are entering/in arbitration and they will cost more so funds need to be available on that side of the ledger.I hope they find a way to pick up a true ace and I'm ok with paying a premium for that service.But as a team that will have some level of payroll limitations it would be prudent to reserve at least one spot, and maybe two, for developing talent.If the Twins grab 1 big gun and go into the season with Odorizzi as their #3, bring in a veteran innings-eater at the #4, and let Smeltzer/Dobnak/Thorpe/Graterol fill out the back end I would be fine with the decision.If the young guys don't develop or there are injuries they can make a splash at the deadline.But for now some level of payroll flexibility is what will help the Twins keep their window open for more years.  

    • KidBro and wabene like this

 

Personally, I think $52M is high - especially for multi-year commitments.Remember, the young bats are entering/in arbitration and they will cost more so funds need to be available on that side of the ledger.I hope they find a way to pick up a true ace and I'm ok with paying a premium for that service.But as a team that will have some level of payroll limitations it would be prudent to reserve at least one spot, and maybe two, for developing talent.If the Twins grab 1 big gun and go into the season with Odorizzi as their #3, bring in a veteran innings-eater at the #4, and let Smeltzer/Dobnak/Thorpe/Graterol fill out the back end I would be fine with the decision.If the young guys don't develop or there are injuries they can make a splash at the deadline.But for now some level of payroll flexibility is what will help the Twins keep their window open for more years.  

 

Twins have 50-70MM in payroll room this year. Next year Cruz, Cron, and probably Rosario are off the books. They have plenty of money to keep the window open. I do agree that leaving the fifth spot open makes sense, but not the 4th. Not on a team that thinks it is a WS contender. At some point, you play for now.....at least somewhat. 

    • Twins33, Sconnie, Dman and 3 others like this
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Old Twins Cap
Nov 14 2019 09:45 PM

Fans gotta realize, does a player like Odorizzi, who has said plainly he likes it here, really want to sit around for three months and see where he ends up and for what kind of contract?

 

Don't know him, but, if a family is involved, the relocation on short notice, the stress of starting over with a new bunch of people, a new team and city -- at a certain point, you gotta say, "They paying me $17M next year?If I am smart and disciplined, that can support me the rest of my life."

 

It's a bet on himself for sure, as next year there is no QO, but, it's also a bet on what an awesome situation he is in to just focus and do his thing -- and life will be fine.

    • nicksaviking, Dman, KidBro and 3 others like this

I'm not surprised he took the QO. I think it's a bet on himself play and it makes sense. Plus 18m is a lot of money. He doesn't have to worry about being locked out like Kuechel was last year.

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, Otwins and 3 others like this
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The Wise One
Nov 15 2019 04:55 AM

 

Twins have 50-70MM in payroll room this year. Next year Cruz, Cron, and probably Rosario are off the books. They have plenty of money to keep the window open. I do agree that leaving the fifth spot open makes sense, but not the 4th. Not on a team that thinks it is a WS contender. At some point, you play for now.....at least somewhat. 

When players come off the books there has to be a player to take their place. Optimism that the 7.4 bwar is easily replaced is nice.

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Major League Ready
Nov 15 2019 06:50 AM

 

When players come off the books there has to be a player to take their place. Optimism that the 7.4 bwar is easily replaced is nice.

I agree with you conceptually and from a best practices point of view. Hell, I applaud the insight and aptitude. It’s not hard to come up with a plan to improve in the immediate term. Sustaining success is far more difficult.

 

Specifically where Cruz / Cron, and Rosario are concerned, I have to agree with Mike. Cruz is going to be hard to replace no matter what. However, there will be good options in the form of a prospect for that roster spot. Cron is really not hard to replace and I would hope that one of our prospects could be even better.

 

I am not sure about Rosario. He has huge upside but he has produced 1.2 fWAR over the past season and a half. The league has adjusted and he has proven to be incapable of the plate discipline necessary to count the adjustments teams have made. It's likely IMO that Kirilloff or Larnach will produce better than Eddie in his current form at a prearb cost.  

 

The key is can they produce impact starting pitching? In this case, I am referring to their financial ability to keep the team together. They have quite a few guys that could step up over the next 2 years and lead the rotation. That would make it possible to replace Odorizzi next year with a prearb contract. It’s a good bet we will have another guy ready in 2 years. That’s why I am an advocate of a Pineada type signing for 2 years. The next would be nearly $30M coming off over at the end of 2021. They are positioned to be very good for several years if they keep the right prospects. Obviously, there are fans who would prefer to present focused approach but that's not going to happen. (see LA Dodgers)

    • Dman and MN_ExPat like this
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John Bonnes
Nov 15 2019 06:57 AM

One of the traits of this front office so far has been that they like to limit their "floor". For example, bringing in CJ Cron last year early in the offseason even though they were also chasing Nelson Cruz later (and had Tyler Austin on the team). Or signing Marwin Gonzalez in spring training when they were unsure about the health of Miguel Sano.

 

This move is another good example. The Twins now have signed one of the top eight free agent starting pitchers on the market. I think (and really hope) they sign at least one pitcher better than Odo, but this establishes a floor for the second spot in the rotation. 

    • USNMCPO, Dman, Major League Ready and 4 others like this

 

Fans gotta realize, does a player like Odorizzi, who has said plainly he likes it here, really want to sit around for three months and see where he ends up and for what kind of contract?

 

Don't know him, but, if a family is involved, the relocation on short notice, the stress of starting over with a new bunch of people, a new team and city -- at a certain point, you gotta say, "They paying me $17M next year?If I am smart and disciplined, that can support me the rest of my life."

 

It's a bet on himself for sure, as next year there is no QO, but, it's also a bet on what an awesome situation he is in to just focus and do his thing -- and life will be fine.

What a great look at his situation Old Twins Cap.Got a feeling you may be right on with his situation.