The Texas Rangers have acquired pitcher Jake Odorizzi and cash from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for pitcher Kolby Allard, the team announced today.
This is kind of a weird deal. Odorizzi was signed to a two year, $20.25M deal by the Houston Astros prior to the 2021 season, with a 2023 player option at $6.5 million with a $3.25 million buyout. However, the option and buyout would increase based on a points system, and there are potential 2023 performance bonuses if Odorizzi exercises the option based on innings pitched.
I would assume that Odorizzi is exercising his player option, because if he weren’t, there’d be no point in this move being made. Odorizzi was dealt by the Astros to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline in one of those deals where neither side really wanted the guy they had anymore and was happy to foist him off on someone else. The Astros got reliever Will Smith, who was okay over the final two months, was inactive for the ALDS and ALCS, and then was active for the World Series but didn’t pitch.
Odorizzi put up a 5.24 ERA in ten starts for the Braves post-trade, and they apparently had no interest in keeping him around anymore, to the point they were willing to take Kolby Allard back to get Odorizzi to go away. Allard, you may recall, was acquired by the Rangers from the Braves in exchange for Chris Martin all the way back in 2019. He now returns to Atlanta.
As for Odorizzi, he would apparently be rotation depth for the Rangers. He has a 0.2 bWAR over the past three seasons, but he was good at times before that. Maybe he’s a #4 or #5 starter, I guess, particularly if the team doesn’t want to have to start the year with Dane Dunning or Glenn Otto in the rotation. Or maybe he’s a guy who they will take a look at this spring and make a decision on then.
Odorizzi was also part of a couple of really big trades way back in the day — he went to Kansas City, along with Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jeremy Jeffress, in December, 2010, in the deal that sent Zack Greinke to Milwaukee. Two years later, he went to Tampa Bay, along with Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard, in the trade that brought James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City.
UPDATE — Per reports, Odorizzi exercised his player option before the trade, which was worth $12.5 million for 2023 due to the escalators. The Braves are reportedly sending $10 million to Texas in this deal. So the Rangers are getting Odorizzi for $2.5 million and Allard, who they were likely going to waive anyway.