Athletics

Odorizzi reported deal heightens Astros-A's AL West rivalry

Athletics

Jake Odorizzi was one of the main free agents remaining this year as spring training got underway. The 2019 All-Star agreed to a two-year deal with the Houston Astros on Saturday, league sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.

While we knew this would be the main team to give the A’s a run toward the AL West title, this just confirms that.

Despite the Astros being without two-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander for a while, the boost from Odorizzi certainly helps.

It’s a small sample size, but in eight games against the A’s from 2014-19, Odorizzi held the A’s to a .211 batting average. In 2019, Oakland did manage to boast a 1.032 OPS against the 30-year-old. Now that they’re in the same division, he’ll get more exposure to the A's.

Odorizzi was limited to just four games in 2020 due to injuries. He only posted a 6.59 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings with the Minnesota Twins.

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But he’s shown signs of being reliable in the past and his four-seam fastball has proved to be nasty. Those 2020 numbers could be a fluke and multiple teams reportedly were interested in him during free agency, including the Los Angeles Angels.

Odorizzi will join a rotation that already possesses Lance McCullers Jr., Zack Greinke, Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy.

Houston once again looks to be the A's chief rival in pursuit of an AL West title.