Seattle Mariners Free Agency Big Board: Who will they target?
4. Jake Odorizzi, RHP Minnesota
Jake Odorizzi has been a favorite of this writer for a while. But after a “breakout” 2019 that forced the Twins to slap a qualifying offer on him, Odorizzi accepted their 1-year contract offer and will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.
Odorizzi is one of the safest starting pitchers in the big leagues and is a good bet for 160 innings and a sub-4 FIP. In fact, with the exception of a poor 2017, Odorizzi has never posted a FIP higher than 4.32 in his 6 full-seasons. Odorizzi has made 28 or more starts in each of those 6 seasons, making him one of the most durable starters around.
In addition to the durability and reliability, Odorizzi has a career 8.6 K/9 with a decent 3.11 BB/9 and a 13.7 fWAR in 6 years. Odorizzi is a flyball heavy pitcher, but amazingly, doesn’t give up many home runs. In each of his past two seasons, Odorizzi has posted a sub-9% HR/FB ratio.
Odorizzi isn’t an ace but is a solid #3 starter with #2 upside. While the Mariners have quite a few interesting arms, the simple fact remains that 3 of these arms (Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield, and Justin Dunn) have not yet proven they are MLB starters, while Logan Gilbert and George Kirby have yet to make their debut.
If the team hopes to be competitive in 2021, they’ll need probability in their rotation. Adding an arm should be their top priority this winter, though that could change if 2 of the 3 unproven MLB arms reach their ceilings.
If Odorizzi repeats his 4.7 fWAR of 2019 (162 game pace), he could be in line for a Zack Wheeler type of deal. If not, he’ll likely settle in at a Jeff Samardjiza type of contract. Whether Seattle is willing to pay that to a player who will be entering his age-31 season would be anybody’s guess. But if they do, they’ll have acquired a safe bet to slide into the middle of most teams rotations.