The Cubs should pursue free agent Jake Odorizzi to strengthen the rotation.
Free agency is underway during what should be a lively offseason for many ball clubs, especially the Chicago Cubs. This is a winter destined for change on the north side of Chicago and there are many weaknesses that need to be addressed in order for the team to avenge their 2020 shortcomings and contend in 2021. One of the deepest holes lies with the starting pitching rotation.
Throughout the 2020 season, the Cubs starting rotation found a way to be one of the team’s strengths. While there were ups and downs, it was a mainstay of the club and led to many of the team’s victories throughout the season. However, the starting rotation is going to be struck by the change in 2021 whether we like it or not. Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Tyler Chatwood are on the free agent market, leaving the back end of the rotation uncertain.
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As a result, acquiring starters for the end three spots of the rotation is going to be a priority for the Cubs going forward. It should be noted that rookie Adbert Alzolay showed promise in his six 2020 appearances and does have the potential for a starting role. In addition, Alec Mills proved himself to be a reliable option, making history with his no-hitter this summer. But, until more certainty arises, the free agent market is the best option for the team right now.
This year’s free agent class appears to be on the thin side when it comes to starting pitching, despite the team’s limited spending resources. Some of the biggest names, including Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman and Charlie Morton have already found their destinations for 2021. Yet, there are still viable candidates left that are worth spending on and one of these candidates is former Minnesota Twins starter, Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi, 30 had anything but an easy 2020 season.
Unfortunately, back and abdominal injuries, as well as blisters and other issues greatly limited Odorizzi’s playing time last season. Due to the circumstances, the right-hander only made four starts in 2020. Over the course of the season, Odorizzi posted a 6.59 ERA. In 2019, Odorizzi owned a 3.51 ERA which is more representative of his career 3.92 ERA. In 2019, he also went 15-7 across 159 innings. With that being said, when Odorizzi is healthy, he is a valuable commodity.
While Odorizzi might be a bit out of the Chicago Cubs price range, the 30-year old veteran would strengthen the starting rotation looking onto the 2021 season. While Odorizzi was struck by three injury stints in 2020 alone, just as long as he stays relatively healthy, he would be an ideal choice to solidify the uncertain backend of the rotation.