Starting Pitching Rumors: Odorizzi, Paxton, Arrieta, Walker (

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Right-hander Jake Odorizzi’s current market includes the Angels, Giants, Blue Jays, Twins and Red Sox, tweets’s Jon Morosi. Most of those clubs have been at least speculatively linked to Odorizzi at some point this winter, although it’s of at least some note that there’s still interest after those teams have added other pieces to their rotation already. The Angels agreed to a deal with Jose Quintana earlier this week, and the Twins inked J.A. Happ on a matching one-year deal. The Red Sox have brought back Martin Perez, while the Giants have brought in Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood. Odorizzi is still seeking a three-year deal, tweets MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. He and the Twins are still not seeing eye to eye in terms of the length of a potential contract or the total guarantee, Heyman adds.

A few more notes on the market for starting pitchers…

  • Lefty James Paxton is among the rotation targets the Blue Jays are taking a look at, tweets Heyman. A link between the two sides seemed almost inevitable given that the Jays have been tied to most free agents as they cast a wide net amid an aggressive offseason and given that Toronto is regularly at least speculated upon as a landing spot for Canadian-born free agents. Paxton, who threw for teams late last month, missed the bulk of the 2020 season due to February back surgery and then a forearm strain this past summer. Beyond being limited to 20 1/3 ineffective frames while battling those injuries, Paxton saw a drop of more than three miles per hour in his average heater last year. Of course, if he’s healthy, the 32-year-old would rank among the most impactful arms on the open market. From 2017-19, “Big Maple” tossed 447 innings of 3.54 ERA ball with a near-identical 3.45 SIERA. He also posted an outstanding 30.1 percent strikeout rate and a 7.3 percent walk rate that sat comfortably south of the league average. At his best, he’s a playoff-caliber starter, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see hopeful contenders pursuing short-term deals with Paxton in weeks to come.
  • From one Scott Boras client to another, right-hander Jake Arrieta is planning to throw for interested teams a week from today, Heyman tweets. Arrieta missed his final few starts of the season due to a hamstring injury — his second straight year truncated by injury. The former Cy Young winner underwent arthroscopic surgery near the end of the 2019 campaign after attempting to pitch through bone spurs in his elbow for much of the season. Overall, Arrieta’s three-year, $75MM deal with the Phillies didn’t pay dividends. After a solid first year in Philly, he logged just 180 innings of 4.75 ERA/4.82 SIERA ball with an 18.1 percent strikeout rate that was nowhere near his 27 percent peak with the Cubs. The Twins plan to watch Arrieta’s bullpen session next week, tweets SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson, although he adds that Minnesota is represented at nearly all showcases of this nature, so this is perhaps more due diligence than it is keen interest in Arrieta specifically.
  • The Mariners have yet to approach right-hander Taijuan Walker with a serious offer to bring him back to the organization, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. At the time of Walker’s trade to the Blue Jays over the summer, Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto suggested that he might look to bring the righty back to the team in the near future (Twitter link via Jessamyn McIntyre). That has yet to happen, it seems, although it’s also worth noting that Divish reported earlier in the week that Mariners ownership has limited the front office’s payroll flexibility “more than expected” this winter. The Mariners may yet add another arm to the rotation mix, but depending on the extent to which spending is limited, a multi-year deal candidate like Walker might be out of reach.

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