Phillies miss out on signing Jake Odorizzi for rotation depth
By Matt Rappa
Matt Moore and Chase Anderson appear to be the final additions to the Philadelphia Phillies starting rotation — adding much-needed depth as Major League Baseball adjusts from a 60- to 162-game schedule.
Late last month, the Phillies reportedly were “in contact” with right-hander Jake Odorizzi, with MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reporting the signing was a possibility. “Obviously, they have Dave Dombrowski,” Heyman said. “He has done a great job already. You get [Odorizzi], you are playing to win. So, they are clearly playing to win.”
As it turns out, the nine-year veteran will not wear red pinstripes this coming season, as on Saturday, Heyman reported Odorizzi has agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $30 million with the Houston Astros. Odorizzi replaces the injured Framber Valdez in the Astros rotation and will complement Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr., among others.
Jake Odorizzi will not be joining the Phillies rotation this season.
Had the Phillies not been at the brink of the luxury tax, they surely would have preferred Odorizzi as a possible rotation option, rather than Vince Velasquez, for example. Set to turn 31 this month, Odorizzi would have provided the Phillies durability, as he has made at least 28 starts in six straight seasons from 2014-19.
Odorizzi was drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft out of high school. Four years later, he went on to debut for the Kansas City Royals. In 2014, still considered a rookie, the right-hander finished eighth in the Rookie of the Year Award race while pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays. Through 31 starts, he went 11-13 with a 4.13 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, and 174-59 strikeouts-to-walks ratio spanning 168 innings.
Odorizzi’s best season came in 2019 with the Minnesota Twins, the season in which he earned his first and only career All-Star appearance. Starting in 30 games, he went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA, 1.208 WHIP, and 178-53 strikeouts-to-walks ratio across 159 innings. That season, he was named an AL Player of the Week in early May, as well as recorded the eighth-most wins in the American League (15).
With Moore and other Phillies starters impressing early on, there was not as much of a pressing need to go over the luxury tax for the first time in franchise history and sign Odorizzi. Hopefully, the organization does not regret its decision to stand pat.