Texas Rangers kick off hot stove season by acquiring Jake Odorizzi

Aug 28, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (12) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 28, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (12) pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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It didn’t take long for Chris Young and the Texas Rangers to start their off-season. On Wednesday, they made two moves to address their pitching staff. First, they picked up Jose Leclerc’s $6 million  option for 2023. But the bigger news of the night came when they completed a trade with the Atlanta Braves, sending Kolby Allard back to Atlanta in exchange for Jake Odorizzi and cash considerations.

Regarding Leclerc, there was some debate heading into the off-season if Leclerc had shown enough to warrant picking up his option for 2023. Leclerc missed most of the shortened 2020 season and all of 2021 with a shoulder injury and then underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2021. He came back in the middle of June and became one of the Rangers’ late inning relievers.

Leclerc showed the same velocity he had shown back in 2019, he used his changeup more this season than any other season in the past, and he stayed away from hard contact. He showed good control despite missing almost all of 2 seasons. He was someone that closed games, but also could be counted on to be able to go pitch multiple innings as well. He will likely be back in a late inning role in Bruce Bochy’s bullpen in 2023.

Texas Rangers trade for Jake Odorizzi, bring back Jose Leclerc for 2023

In sending Kolby Allard to the Braves in exchange for Jake Odorizzi, Atlanta will send $10 million to the Rangers. The Rangers will then be on the hook for $2.5 million for one season with Jake Odorizzi. That is great deal for a quality veteran pitcher who has a shot to be in the Opening Day rotation, while flipping a pitcher who never contributed much to the Rangers in Allard.

Jake Odorizzi spent 2022 pitching with the Houston Astros and then the Atlanta Braves. He was traded at the deadline to the Braves in exchange for lefty reliever Will Smith. Odorizzi spent all of 2022 starting for the Astros and Braves. He was placed on the IL after being removed from a start in May due to tendon and ligament damage on a play he made running to cover first base. He was out until July 4th. He proceeded to make five starts and two of those were seven inning, no run starts against the A’s on July 10th and the Mariners on July 31st. He was then traded to Atlanta to help Houston shore up their bullpen.

Odorizzi has a five pitch mix with a fastball that he pitches up in the zone with, he threw the cutter more this season than his other secondary pitches. He also throws a slider, split finger, and curveball. In 2022 between Houston and Atlanta he made 22 starts. He was 6-6 with a 4.40 ERA. He struck out 86 and walked 35 in 106.1 innings pitched.  At this point in his career he is mostly a guy that doesn’t go through a lineup much more than 2 times. I do not see that changing with Texas. I think they are going to make sure to not expose him more than they need to. They will work to keep him healthy and make sure he can pitch through September and possibly into October.

Jake Odorizzi upgrades the Texas Rangers’ pitching depth

Trading for Odorizzi is just the first major move of many Texas is looking to make this off-season. It is a strong first trade for Texas and helps solidify the back end of their rotation. There is likely more trades that will be made in the coming days as the Rule 5 deadline approaches on November 15th and the Rangers try to make room on the 40 man roster for the players who are Rule 5 eligible and free agents that they will look to add in the coming days and weeks.

Overall, I would say this is a grade A deal in that they traded a likely roster casualty in Kolby Allard and got a good pitcher back and will only be responsible for $2.5 million in salary for Jake Odorizzi next season.

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