Will Jake Odorizzi Be Back With Rays In 2018?

Odorizzi Struggles In 2017, Future With Rays Cloudy

Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox
AP Photo/Steve Nesius

Jake Odorizzi struggled through the 2017 season. With a new pitching coach and new philosophy, it appears the Rays are going to turn the rotation over. With just two years of club control remaining, I’m left to wonder if we’ve seen the last of Odo in a Rays uniform. My thoughts on a disappointing 2017 season for Jake Odorizzi:

1. He never seemed to be able to get in that groove finishing 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA/5.42 FIP. His 5.42 FIP ranked fifth worst out of 88 pitchers (min 140-innings). His 0.2 fWAR was tied for the third fewest of the 88 starting pitchers who qualified.

2. He struggled to go deep into games. He pitched into the seventh inning in just five of his 28 starts. His average of 4.36 pitches per batter faced is the highest in the majors (minimum 100-innings).

3. If the Rays could have received the same production from Odorizzi that he delivered in September, the season could have had a much different outcome In five September starts he went 3-1 with a 1.03 ERA (3-ER/26.1-IP). He only allowed 3 home runs while striking out 30 and walking just nine.

4. Serving up the gopher ball was his nemesis as seen by his career high HR/FB mark of 15.5-percent.  Allowed a career high 30-homers to lead the team. It was just the sixth time in club history that a pitcher has allowed 30 or more homers. Yielded a homer in all but five hof his starts and three of them were injury shortened.his His 23 starts with a homer are tied for most in the majors and mark a new franchise record.

Odorizzi’s Leaves Final Start With Injury

5. Staying healthy was an issue. He was placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain in April. He landed on the DL again with a lower back strain in July.  At the time he admitted that he had been dealing with a sore back since Spring Training.

6. After returning from the disabled list on August 9th he made 10 starts posting a 4-4 mark with a 3.51 ERA (19-ER/48.2-IP). He held the opposition to a .186 batting average and allowed just seven home runs. “The last five or six starts is probably the best I’ve thrown the ball maybe in my career here.’ Odorizzi said after his final start of the season. “Hick [former pitching coach Jim Hickey] has told me after the last couple of starts.”

7. Odorizzi was happy with the way his season finished and to receive the compliments he did from former pitching coach Jim Hickey means a lot. The question for the Rays is whether or not they move him this offseason, try to ink him to a contract extension, or bring him back in 2018.

8. With just two years of club control, the Rays have to feel that now is the time to maximize his value. Of course, one could argue that he is at a low point and dealing him now would be selling low.

9. The Rays could hold onto him, hope he returns to his former self, and trade him at the trade deadline next July.

10. In a pitching thin free agent market and the relative cost to “buy” pitching (see Marco Estrada and Blue Jays), it would be reasonable to assume that there will be plenty of suitors for Odo. It would seem more likely than not that we have seen the last of him in a Rays uniform.

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I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.