Report: Blue Jays met with free agent Odorizzi
The Toronto Blue Jays are wasting no time chasing free agents this winter.
Odorizzi, one of the top starters on the open market this offseason, has until Thursday to decide whether or not to accept a $17.8-million qualifying offer from the Minnesota Twins.
If he declines the qualifying offer, Odorizzi would be attached to draft-pick compensation in the event that he signs with a new team. Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told reporters Monday that surrendering a draft pick will not "get in the way of us acquiring talent," according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The 29-year-old Odorizzi may appeal to the Blue Jays in part due to his experience pitching in the AL East. He spent five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays and enjoyed some level of success in the competitive division, posting a 3.82 ERA and a 4.22 FIP during his time in Tampa.
Odorizzi is also coming off an All-Star season with the Twins that saw him accrue a career-best 4.3 WAR while averaging more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He did a superb job of limiting the long ball in a season of spiked homer rates across MLB, allowing just 0.9 home runs per nine.
The Blue Jays are prioritizing pitching this winter. They've already made one move to address the staff by trading for Chase Anderson, and they're said to be discussing trading one of their two young catchers, Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire, in exchange for additional mound upgrades.
Bringing back Matt Shoemaker is another option for Toronto. Shoemaker got off to a hot start with the Blue Jays after signing in free agency last winter before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He's in talks with the team about an extension, but a deal is not believed to be close at this time, Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith reported Tuesday.