5. Jake Odorizzi
2017 Season: 28 starts, 143.1 innings, 10-8 record, 4.14 ERA, 127 SO, 61 BB
The Pioneer Press’ Mike Berardino reported the Twins inquired about the Tampa Bay Rays’ right-hander and honestly, Minnesota could do a lot worse. Basically, Jake Odorizzi is a solid piece Minnesota could rely on in the middle of their rotation. For his career, Odorizzi is 40-38 with a 3.83 ERA and has a solid 8.2 strikeout per walk rate.
While he may not be the ace-caliber pitcher this club seeks, he isn’t a bad option to bring some stability into the rotation. At the same time, he’s not going to cost as much to acquire as the other players on this list and will come at a very reasonable 2018 salary figure. According to MLB trade rumors, Odorizzi is only projected to make $6.5 in his second year of arbitration. Additionally, the Twins would have him under control for the 2019 season as well.
The big knock on Odorizzi is he lets up the long ball fairly frequently, allowing 29 and 30 home runs, respectively, in the last two years. Yet, at 27 years old, he’s just entering the prime of his career, so there’s no reason to think the problem can’t be fixed. Not to mention, he’s never turned in an ERA over 4.14, so he’s still managed to keep damage to a minimum overall.
Admittedly, the Twins would have to do more than just add Odorizzi to the rotation. He definitely makes the rotation deeper and is a far better third starter – considering he’d slot in behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berríos – than they’ve had over the last few years. Even so, Minnesota needs an ace to head the rotation. In time, Berríos has the potential to develop into that, but for a playoff aspiring team, they could use someone ready to take over the role right now. Sure, Santana played admirably as the ace in 2017, but he’s realistically a second or third starter in an elite rotation.