MLB rumors: Giants expressing Jake Odorizzi interest in free agency

Dalton Johnson
·2 min read

Report: Giants have shown interest in free agent Odorizzi originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Giants already made one big move to their starting rotation by bringing Kevin Gausman back with the $18.9 million qualifying offer. That doesn't mean they're done adding, though. 

While the Giants already have been connected to Trevor Bauer, the cream of the free-agent crop, they likely have their eyes on some smaller names as well. ESPN's Buster Olney reported Monday morning that the Giants are part of a handful of teams that have shown interest in pitcher Jake Odorizzi. The 30-year-old could be one of the most underrated players on the open market, too.

Odorizzi spent a majority of the 2020 season on the injured list with a back injury, as well as time after being hit in the chest with a line drive. He made just four starts and had a 6.59 ERA. However, he made his first All-Star Game in 2019 and is a strong bounce-back candidate. 

In 2019, Odorizzi saw his average fastball velocity spike from 91.1 mph to 92.9 mph, which brought him great rewards. His average fastball sat at 93 mph in a small sample size this past season. Odorizzi's fastball had a 30 percent whiff percentage in 2019, and in total, he had a career-high 27.1 strikeout percentage.

The veteran right-hander went 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA for the Minnesota Twins in 2019. He struck out 178 batters in 159 innings, and had a career-high 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

This past offseason, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made smart moves by signing Gausman, Drew Smyly and Tyler Anderson to one-year contracts. Odorizzi falls in line as another candidate Zaidi could seek out with his velocity-range metrics. 

RELATED: Giants Mailbag: What's 2021 plan for Posey, Beede, others?

San Francisco's rotation is set to include Gausman and Johnny Cueto at the top. It's a bit of a question mark after that. Logan Webb still is only 23 years old -- he turns 24 on Wednesday -- and Tyler Beede is returning from Tommy John surgery. The Giants also need a veteran arm or two to bridge the gap with prospects Sean Hjelle and Tristan Beck on the way.

Sure, Zaidi and Co. might make a splash by signing someone like Bauer. Adding an arm like Odorizzi sure makes a lot of sense, though, and falls in line with Zaidi's history.

Download and subscribe to the Balk Talk Podcast