The third option from Tampa Bay’s rotation is former KC Royals prospect Jake Odorizzi. The 26-year-old Odorizzi is yet another young Tampa Bay pitcher that has disappointed this season. Yet, his advantage is that he doesn’t have a significant injury history and is still yet to become arbitration eligible.
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Thus, Odorizzi is playing for the major-league minimum salary this season.
The Kansas City Royals would have to like Odorizzi’s salary, but wouldn’t be so happy with his current 4.39 ERA. Odorizzi also has never eaten more than 169.1 innings in a season, so he’s not a guy that will protect the pen. Odorizzi does miss enough bats (8.5 K/9) and does get the ball over the plate (2.8 BB/9). However, he does sport a 1.5 HR/9.
Again, Odorizzi would be an improvement over the KC Royals no. 5 options, and would have three more seasons of team control (at arbitration rates). The other advantage of Odorizzi is that the organization is familiar with him, since he logged two seasons in the Kansas City Royals system after coming over from the Milwaukee Brewers as part of the Zack Greinke trade.
Thus, KC Royals officials should have a good idea if he’s a clubhouse fit.
Jake Odorizzi also carries some upside. He was a fine 9-9, with a 3.35 ERA in 2015 in 28 starts with Tampa Bay that season. His lack of innings pitched means that he doesn’t qualify as a rotation horse, but he’s been a mid-rotation guy for at least one season.
Odorizzi probably would cost less than either Matt Moore or Chris Archer in prospects, because he lacks their high upside. Yet, he doesn’t have the downside risk of Moore due to his lack of injury history. Of the three Tampa Bay Rays options, I think Odorizzi is the one most likely to end up in a KC Royals uniform this season.
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