The Mets signed reliever Trevor May due to a convergence of reasons that made him a perfect fit: A relationship with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner formed when both were in Minnesota, a desire by Sandy Alderson to be aggressive in targeting needs, and Steve Cohen’s willingness to spend before the market is set.
For all of those same reasons, starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi makes perfect sense as the team’s next pitching upgrade.
Odorizzi, who turns 31 in March, is one of the top free agent starters on the market. His 2020 season was shortened by injuries, but he was an All-Star in 2019, and pitched more than 300 innings between 2018 and 2019.
Odorizzi is close with both May and Hefner. In fact, he recently co-hosted a Sirius/XM radio show with May.
As for the Mets, they are looking to take advantage of a slow-developing market for starting pitching by jumping to the front of the line while other clubs browse. As SNY reported on Thursday, most teams are in a very preliminary phase of their search for both bullpen and rotation help.
Like the Atlanta Braves, who have already signed Drew Smyly and Charlie Morton, the Mets are acting as outliers. They were in on Morton, and would have no issue signing Odorizzi before the market develops, if the sides can agree on terms.
The Mets are also pursuing catcher James McCann and outfielder George Springer, among other free agents.