Revisiting Falvey and Levine Era Trades: Jake Odorizzi
Image courtesy of David Berding-USA TODAY SportsJake Odorizzi recently committed to the Minnesota Twins for one more season by accepting the qualifying offer at the tune of $17.8 million dollars. It wasn’t all that long ago that the Twins went after Odorizzi. In the kick-off to a series looking back at some of the more significant trades of the Falvey and Levine era, here is a look back at that trade for the Twins right-hander.
It may sound weird, but the night of the Odorizzi trade is one of those nights I will remember for a while. Twins fans had been charged up with the hopes that maybe the Twins would sign Yu Darvish and then it turned into hopes and dreams of acquiring Chris Archer. So when Darren Wolfson tweeted that something was going on between the Rays and Twins, everyone was on alert!
Why it was big for me personally was because I was editing over at Puckett’s Pond where I had just recently said goodbye to a good friend and mentor and hello to a new member of the team. It felt like my first big chance to roll out some big Twins news as the site veteran.
Personal stories aside, at the time and still today, it looks like an absolute steal that the Twins were able to acquire Odorizzi for shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios. At the time Palacios was a top-20 Twins prospect but he was also behind the likes of Royce Lewis, Wander Javier, and Nick Gordon. While Palacios is still only 22-years-old, he hasn’t been higher than Double-A ball and only slashed .210/.275/.266 in 2019.
While Odorizzi may have initially been acquired as a quick fix replacement to keep the Twins afloat after Ervin Santana went down with injury, he has proven to be a bit more and a crucial part to the Twins rotation. What is even more important is that the Twins front office got Odorizzi instead of Archer which looks very smart at this point.
The above stats are from 2018 and 2019. As they show, Odorizzi has been better the past two years than Archer. In 2018, the two pitchers were relatively similar with Archer edging Odorizzi in stats like ERA and K/9 but Odorizzi had a better WAR of 1.5 to Archer’s 1.0.
2019 is where Odorizzi really pulled away from Archer as Odorizzi put in an All-Star worthy season. At the same time Archer was very disappointing and had a 5.19 ERA and 0.8 WAR. Not at all what the Pirates were hoping for when they traded some good and talented players to Tampa Bay for him.
Speaking of talented players, because the Twins didn’t acquire Archer they were able to hold on to one key player that the Rays were interested in, Max Kepler. At the time many were speculating the Twins might have needed to package Kepler with either Stephen Gonsalves or Fernando Romero plus a few other prospects if they were to bring Archer to Minnesota.
The acquisition of Odorizzi on its own looks like a huge win for Falvey and Levine. Adding in what could have been and the fact they hung on to the likes of Kepler makes it feel that much better. Now a deal for Archer may have never actually been on the table but at the time many of us wanted to make it.
What are your thoughts on the Odorizzi trade? Has your opinion of it changed at all over the past two seasons?
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