What will the Braves do with Jake Odorizzi?

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When I first heard the Braves acquired Jake Odorizzi for Will Smith, I was ecstatic. I was shocked the Braves could get anything with a pulse for Smith after the way he performed in the first half of the season, but after a deeper look, I quickly realized this wasn’t a very favorable move for the Braves.

Atlanta needed a fifth starter with the way Ian Anderson panned out, but Odorizzi turned out not to be much of an upgrade at all. In fact, I’m pretty confident both Bryce Elder and Kyle Muller could have been equally or even more effective than Odorizzi as the team’s fifth starter. Odorizzi made 10 starts for the Braves, posting an unsightly 5.24 ERA, 5.14 FIP, and 1.554 WHIP. He was not a major league caliber talent, but I couldn’t blame Anthopoulos for trying to see if they could squeeze something out of him. After all, they only gave up Will Smith for his services.

Where this deal gets worse — and the primary reason I’m surprised it went down — is Odorizzi has a $6.5 million player option for 2023, an option he would be foolish not to pick up. It does come with a $3.25 million buyout, which is the direction I expect the Braves to go because I don’t see any way he earns the fifth and final rotation spot entering next season.

The Braves have a bevy of talented arms in AAA waiting for their opportunity. They also have Mike Soroka and Ian Anderson, two high-upside starting pitchers that should enter Spring Training 100% healthy. A lot would have to go wrong for Jake Odorizzi to begin on the Braves 2023 roster, so buying him out and taking the $3.25 million hit seems like the most likely course of action.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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