Astros boost rotation with Jake Odorizzi’s late deal

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HOUSTON — Right-hander Jake Odorizzi and the Houston Astros finalized a two-year, $20.25 million contract that guarantees $20.25 million over two years or $23.5 million over three seasons.

The deal contains additional performance bonuses that could make it worth at least $33.25 million over three years and possibly more depending on appearances in 2021 and ’22.

Odorizzi enhances a Houston rotation that lost Framber Valdez indefinitely to a broken finger this spring. Astros ace Justin Verlander also is sidelined while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

An All-Star with Minnesota in 2019, Odorizzi was limited to four starts last season because of injuries. He was 0-1 with a 6.59 ERA for the Twins during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Odorizzi, who turns 31 this month, gets a $6 million signing bonus payable in equal installments each July 15 from 2021-23, a $6 million salary this season and a $5 million salary in 2022.

The deal includes a $6.5 million player option for 2023 with a $3.25 million buyout, and the 2023 option price would escalate by $2 million each and the buyout by $1 million apiece for 20, 25 and 30 points. He would get one point for each start as a pitcher or pitching appearance of 12 or more outs during 2021 and 2022.

He can earn $6.75 million in performance bonuses for innings in 2022: $500,000 for 100, $1 million each for 110, 120, 130, 140 and 150 and $1.25 million for 160.

If he exercises the option for 2023, he could earn $3 million in performance bonuses for innings that year: $500,000 each for 120 and 130, and $1 million apiece for 140 and 150.

Odorizzi was selected to his first All-Star team in 2019 when he made 30 starts and went a career-best 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA. He had 178 strikeouts and allowed 139 hits that season for the Twins.

Odorizzi spent the last three seasons with Minnesota and has also pitched for Tampa Bay and Kansas City during his nine-year major league career. He is 62-56 with a 3.92 ERA in 195 appearances (192 starts).

He’s won at least 10 games four times and has four seasons with at least 30 starts.

To clear a roster spot for Odorizzi, the Astros placed reliever Pedro Baez on the injured list.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.