Blue Jays extend qualifying offer to Marco Estrada


The Toronto Blue Jays have extended a qualifying offer to starting pitcher Marco Estrada. Coming off a breakout season after joining the Blue Jays in a 2014 offseason deal for Adam Lind, Estrada will now have until November 13th to either accept the offer or decline and enter free agency. 

This is the logical move if you’re Mark Shapiro and Tony LaCava, and it becomes an even easier decision when considering his playoff performance and the uncertain state of Toronto’s starting rotation. Past Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey, the only in-house options would be Drew Hutchison and a conversion of Aaron Sanchez or Roberto Osuna from their bullpen roles.

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Estrada was as season-saver for the Blue Jays rotation, both through the summer months and in October. The right-hander would post a 13-8 record with a fantastic 3.13 ERA and 1.044 WHIP. Estrada continues to boast one of the more effective changeups in baseball, which can make his pedestrian fastball velocity feel a little more like mid-90s.

Under pressure in the playoffs, Estrada shone even brighter. He struck out 11 over 13.0 innings with a 2.77 ERA, keeping the Jays alive while some higher-profile names around him struggled to do so.

Toronto now puts themselves in a win-win situation. If Estrada accepts, they fill a middle-rotation spot with a quality arm on a salary that, while steep, is manageable for one season. If Estrada chooses to reject the offer and test the open market, which he may be wise to do for contract length following a breakout season at age 32, Toronto would be entitled to draft pick compensation from the team that signs him.

Rejecting the offer could also lower his market value, with teams hesitant to lose a high pick along with paying his multi-year salary. That scenario could help to bring things full-circle for Toronto still, with a three year deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $32-38 million.