Milwaukee Brewers: Is Rays starter Jake Odorizzi on the move?

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 30: Starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 30: Starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi /

Rumors are swirling around Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi again. Could he land with the Milwaukee Brewers before Spring Training starts?

The Milwaukee Brewers are no stranger to rumors involving Tampa Bay Rays starting pitchers. They’ve been linked to Alex Cobb all off season, and have made overtures for Chris Archer. Cobb will find a new home in the next week or so, but what about Jake Odorizzi?

What kind of deal is Odorizzi signed to?

He’s signed for 2018 on a one-year deal worth $6.1 million, but he also comes with one more year of team control. That’s a perfectly reasonable deal for a Major League starting pitcher heading into his age 28 season who has a 2.9 WAR season under his belt.

What do the numbers say about Odorizzi?

Well, his 2017 5.10 xFIP indicates that he was much worse than his 4.14 actual ERA. In 2017 he posted a K/9 of 7.97, but his BB/9 rose to 3.83. Odorizzi also allowed 30 homers in 143 1/3 innings. 19 of those bombs were surrendered at The Trop.

The advanced metrics don’t love Odorizzi, but he has a solid five pitch mix, and from 2014 to 2016 he posted a 2.0 WAR or higher.

He does profile as an extreme fly ball pitcher. His GB% was only 30.6% in 2017, while his FB% rose to 47.3%. Odorizzi puts a lot of balls in the air. That probably won’t play well in Miller Park.

What would a deal for Odorizzi look like?

The Rays sound motivated to move his contract. If it takes more than a pair of ‘not-a-prospects’ then Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns is doing this wrong. He’s a fly ball pitcher coming off a rough year who has a contract his team doesn’t want. Honestly, it’s hard to believe Odorizzi doesn’t have a new address already.

Is this the right move for the Brewers?

The Milwaukee Brewers need another Major League-caliber starting pitcher. This move won’t come with the cost associated with Cobb or Jake Arrieta, but it also doesn’t have the upside. If Odorizzi arrived in a deal, he would be their fifth starter. He’s not an ace, and he won’t move the Brewers closer to a playoff birth.

Next: Is it time for the Brewers to add Alex Cobb?

Moves for Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain showed that the Milwaukee Brewers are ‘all-in’ for 2018. A deal for Odorizzi doesn’t feel like an ‘all-in’ move. He’ll gobble up 150-180 innings, but the Brewers need more than that. They need a starter who won’t look out of place on Opening Day or in the first game of a playoff series. That’s not Odorizzi.