Blue Jays: Why one year for Estrada is perfect for both sides
Late Monday night, respected baseball writer Jon Morosi tweeted that the Blue Jays were nearing a one year extension with their own pending free agent, Marco Estrada. The deal was confirmed on Tuesday morning, with the agreement being for one year and 13 million dollars.
Marco Estrada will be a Blue Jay for at least one more season. The right-hander was rumoured to be on the move several times before the trade deadline, mostly because the team was realistically out of the playoff race, and his contract was due to expire at the end of this season.
The change up artist has been disappointing overall this year, but has been very much a Jekyl and Hyde situation. He was solid for the first two months, before completely falling apart in June and July, only to turn things around again. Over the course of his last 10 starts, he’s posted a 3.75 ERA and has looked like the pitcher that the club believes he can be.
When the season began, the 34 year old looked to be on the verge of cashing in during free agency, but obviously things didn’t work out the way he, or the Blue Jays had hoped. The silver lining for the club is that they’ve been able to retain him for just one year, at a reasonable cost. The contract also lines up well with the rest of the roster’s timeline, as he re-joins a veteran group on a short term contract.
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A one year deal makes a great deal of sense sense for both parties in a lot of ways. As I said above, Estrada was looking at a solid contract to close out his career, whether it came from the Blue Jays or elsewhere. Now, he’s in a position where he is likely best served to re-establish his true worth, and the front office is well aware of that. There are plenty of reasons to believe in him, and Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins know that they could be getting a potential bargain here.
Estrada has also been vocal throughout the season about his desire to stick around, and giving him a comfortable environment to pitch in is also an upside for him as well. The Blue Jays know what they’ve got, and he’s familiar with the coaching staff, and his battery mate, Russell Martin. He’s also familiar with the training staff, who have helped him stay on the field throughout the 2017 season, despite him missing time in past seasons due to nagging back issues. If he wants to re-establish his value, it makes sense that he’d want to do that in Toronto, and potentially take another run at free agency as a 35 year old.
As for the Blue Jays, they are “stuck in limbo” as a franchise in many ways, and retaining a known commodity makes a lot of sense. They’ve got one year left of control of Josh Donaldson, and three years remaining with the likes of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Roberto Osuna. Throwing in the towel on 2018 doesn’t really make sense, unless of course you’re going with a full blown tear down. That doesn’t appear to be happening, so taking a one year chance with Estrada is a sensible gamble on a timeline measure as well. Worst case scenario, he regresses again in 2018 and both parties move on after another year.
This also doesn’t rule out the Blue Jays from looking at other pitching options in free agency or in trade, but they have spent a bit of their budget bringing back Estrada. In my mind, that’s alright and I think they’ll get solid value for their investment, especially on a one year contract extension.