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.
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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