Red Sox Rumors: Free Agent Starting Pitching Target Jake Odorizzi

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The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings will be held virtually this year.  This week could begin the fury of free agent signings fans have been clamoring to see.  The Red Sox could begin to shape their roster for next season and beyond by moves made over the next few days. 


The league is expected to be hammering over the details on whether we’ll see the Universal DH again next season.  Major League Baseball and the MLBPA will also need to figure out whether they’ll be expanded playoffs again.  The Rule 5 draft will take place as well this week, and with the Red Sox 40-man roster currently at 38 players, they could be players this Thursday.  


     Photo courtesy of Getty Images      


While all that is going on, Red Sox CBO Chaim Bloom will be addressing his club.  The team is expected to add pitching and have been connected to almost all of the names on the market.  One name to keep an eye on is former Rays and Twins starter Jake Odorizzi. 


The Red Sox will have competition for Odorizzi, as the Mets and their deep pockets have interest in the righty.  Odorizzi missed some time last season after taking a line drive off the chest.  He also dealt with a back injury to start the season and a blister in September.  In only four appearances for the Twins, spanning 13 ²/₃ innings, he went 0-1 with a 6.59 ERA.


The right-hander was an All-Star selection in 2019, finishing the season 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA and 1.208 WHIP.  Before pitching for the Twins, he spent five seasons with the Rays.

Bloom is familiar with Odorizzi due to the time they both spent in Tampa Bay.  The Red Sox want starters who will be durable and give them consistent starts and innings.  Last season could have been an anomaly for Odorizzi.  Any time a player is coming off an injury plagued season there’ll be assumed risk before signing him as a free agent. 


The free agent market has been slow moving and only a handful of starters have signed for next season.  The pitching market has only seen one-year deals handed out.  Odorizzi should expect more than a one-year pact from Boston or any team he signs with. 


As mentioned earlier, the Red Sox will have competition for Odorizzi.  The Mets, Angels, Blue Jays and Padres have all been linked to him.  Red Sox General Manager Brian O'Halloran commented on the Red Sox search for starting pitching in an article with Boston Sports Journal


“There are certainly a number of starting pitching options out there of various stripes, and also, of course, there’s a trade market,” Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran said. “Several of those pitchers have signed but there are plenty of opportunities to delve into that market further, either via free agency or trade.  Starting pitching and pitching in general is an area we’d like to improve and add depth to.  We continue to work on that.”


Odorizzi isn't the sexy attractive name like Trevor Bauer on the market and he comes with question marks.  The Red Sox would be taking a chance and hope that Odorizzi isn't betting on himself again this season.  Odorizzi had the best season of his career in 2019, pitching to a 3.51 ERA, making 30 starts and going 15-7 on the season. 


Depending on the price and length of the contract, Odorizzi could be a good fit for the Red Sox rotation Bloom is rebuilding.  The Red Sox have a lot of question marks heading into next year with Chris Sale coming back and Eduardo Rodriguez recovering from myocarditis.  While Odorizzi experience health issues last season, he could come in and help stabilize the rotation until Sale comes back in the middle of the season.


Follow Chris on Twitter @chrishenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Red Sox Rumors: Free Agent Starting Pitching Target Jake Odorizzi
Red Sox Rumors: Free Agent Starting Pitching Target Jake Odorizzi
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