The Braves have acquired right handed starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi from the Houston Astros in exchange for Will Smith, according to longtime Houston sports anchor Mark Berman of FOX26.
Odorizzi, 32, should provide the Braves with starting rotation depth down the stretch while Will Smith attempts to figure things out in Houston. Atlanta is likely to try and limit innings for Spencer Strider and Kyle Wright during the final two months in an effort to keep them fresh for October, and the Astros were rumored to be in search of left-handed bullpen help. It is a rare trade between the two defending league champions and helps fill a need for both clubs.
Odorizzi has made 12 starts with the Astros this season with a steady 3.75 ERA, 4.15 xERA, 3.62 FIP and 4.61 xFIP. He returned from the injured list at the beginning of July and most recently tossed seven scoreless innings against the Mariners on July 31. He holds a player option for the 2023 season with some interesting contract language, per ESPN:
“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.”
As for Will Smith, it had become apparent his days in the Atlanta bullpen were likely numbered. In addition to needing a roster space for rehabbing Kirby Yates, Smith had become unpitchable in games, often struggling to even finish an inning let alone be an effective reliever. That said, he was on the mound in 2021 when the Braves clinched the NLDS, NLCS, and World Series, and we thank him for all of his contributions over the years.
UPDATE - The Braves have officially announced the deal.