Jeremy Hefner
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The New York Mets aren’t waiting for the market to develop for Jake Odorizzi. They’re out there leading the charge in contract negotiations.

The New York Mets have been aggressive this offseason. They took advantage of a slow-moving relief pitching market to sign Trevor May. They’re in active talks with James McCann. Now Andy Martino of SNY is reporting that the Mets aren’t afraid to jump the market for Jake Odorizzi.

Odorizzi is a logical free-agent target for the Mets. He’s close friends with Trevor May, and he has a strong working relationship with Jeremy Hefner.

Mets fans may be upset that this isn’t Trevor Bauer, but Odorizzi isn’t a bad option. Odorizzi dealt with injuries in 2020 that led to poor performance in only four starts. However, he was an All-Star in the 2019 season.

While Odorizzi has never had a season like Bauer’s 2020, he does have similar career numbers. For his career, Odorizzi has a 3.92 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 8.6 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9. Compare that to Bauer’s career 3.90 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9.

There’s no doubt that Bauer is the better pitcher, but is the difference worth the cost? Does it make sense to give Bauer $25-30 million a year when Odorizzi has been comparable across their careers and could be had around $15 million a year? That’s not even mentioning the off the field actions that come along with Bauer.

With the money saved on Jake Odorizzi, the Mets could target other stars on the market. The best fit being George Springer, but Francisco Lindor is also available.

This is what smart teams do. They target the top of the second tier of free agents to supplement a roster and only go after the big fish when it makes sense long term. It’s the Dodgers’ strategy.

The Mets aren’t that far away from being competitive. They just need stable pieces that they know they can count on. That’s where guys like May and Odorizzi come in.