Rangers are right-handed Jake Odorizzi underwent a shoulder arthroscopy procedure and will miss the entire 2023 season, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Needless to say, this is a bad development for both Odorizzi and the club. Rangers enter the off-season looking to upgrade the rotation having posted an ERA of 4.63 last year, placing them 25th out of 30 clubs in the league. They were also about to lose Martin Perez, their most productive start to the year, for free agency. At the end of the season, they re-signed Pérez in exchange for Odorizzi and signed free agents. Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi And Andrew Heaney. Those five, along with the incumbent Jon Graycompletely overhauled the rotation and allowed them to enter the spring with six established major league starts.
While it’s a strong group in theory, there are concerns about injury everywhere, with Odorizzi being no exception. Although he made at least 28 appearances in each season from 2014 to 2019, the last few years he has seen a number of health problems. He only played 4 times in 2020, on the injury list due to an intercostal strain, a contusion in the chest and a blister on the right middle finger. In 2021, right-sided pronation muscle strain and pain in his right foot both resulted in IL being ruled out, limiting him to 104 2/3 innings. Last year, discomfort in his left foot kept him out for about six weeks and he only scored 106 and a half innings.
Still, the Odorizzi looks like a solid pickup for the Rangers. Amid all those injuries, he still posted an ERA of 4.21 in 2021 and 4.40 last year. It didn’t cost him much either, as Atlanta agreed to pay $10 million of his $12.5 million salary as part of the transaction. The only piece Rangers sent in a different way was Kolby Allardwho has struggled to hit an ERA of 6.07 in his major league career so far.
Unfortunately, Rangers will ultimately receive nothing from the deal, as Odorizzi will become a free agent after this losing season. He was delayed in the camp due to hand fatigue and general manager Chris Young recently issued an ominously vague update that Odorizzi would likely be out “longer rather than shorter,” followed by the right holder being put on the 60-day injured list for Opening Day. That ruled him out for the first few months of the season but this news now means he will miss the entire campaign at his 33rd birthday.
Entering 2021, Odorizzi was signed by the Astros to a two-year, $23.5 million contract. That contract comes with a $6.5 million player option for 2023 with a buyback amount of $3.25 million, though those two figures will rise to $12.5 million and $6.25 million if Odorizzi makes 30 appearances in 2021 and 2022. In the end, he’s earned 46 games, easily surpassing those numbers pointing up. Last August, the Astros moved Odorizzi to Atlanta for lefties Will Smith. At the end of the season, Odorizzi activated that player option before moving to Texas.
Rangers still have 5 strong fronts that are deGrom, Eovaldi, Heaney, Pérez and Gray, but they will now proceed without the planned No 6 starter. right-handed Denmark and left-handed Cole Ragans are probably the club’s top depth picks at the moment, although both are working in the major leagues in the early stages of this season.