Even though offseason rumors mentioned multiple teams had interest in the right-hander, Odorizzi explained Friday that he accepted Minnesota's offer because he was afraid to be unemployed.
"I didn't want to be sitting on my couch waiting in February because teams were afraid of losing the draft pick," he said, according to Brandon Warne of ZoneCoverage.com. "If I can continue what I did last year and even improve slightly, I think I'm right around the top of (next year's) free-agent class."
After the Twins extended a qualifying offer to Odorizzi, the 29-year-old had until 5 p.m. Thursday to decide if he'd accept or decline. Had he declined, a team would've needed to give up draft-pick compensation to sign him.
By accepting, Odorizzi guaranteed himself a healthy salary and a big-league job, plus he isn't eligible for a qualifying offer next offseason.
Even though Odorizzi performed well in 2019, going 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA and a 3.36 FIP, the draft-pick compensation attached to a qualifying offer has deterred teams from signing past free agents. Most notably, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel entered last spring training without jobs and didn't sign deals well into the regular season for what was perceived as below market value.
"The system in place is a flawed system, but we have to abide by it," Odorizzi said. "In no way is the qualifying offer 'player-friendly.'"
Changes to the qualifying-offer system can't be implemented until after MLB's collective bargaining agreement expires in 2021.