In the early hours of Wednesday morning, news broke out of St. Louis that former Blue Jays starting pitcher Steven Matz agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract with the Cardinals. Matz was a pretty hot commodity this offseason, with some teams/owners being very vocal about their displeasure in losing out on his services (or at least how the negotiations were handled).
Acquired from the New York Mets last offseason, Matz put together a pretty solid campaign during his lone season with the Blue Jays. He would finish the year with a 3.82 ERA through 150.2 innings while starting 29 games and wracking up 144 strikeouts on his way to a 1.334 WHIP and a 2.0 bWAR.
The biggest question surrounding the southpaw this offseason was whether the Blue Jays would extend him a qualifying offer or not, as many believed he would accept the $18.4 million one year offer if presented with one. This would be a bit of an overpay for his services but there was a chance the pitcher could reject the QO and attempt to secure a long-term deal in free agency, which in turn would provide draft pick compensation for the Blue Jays if he signed elsewhere.
The organization eventually decided against presenting him with the offer and instead went the multi-year contract route, with the New York product turning down the offers and eventually signing with the Cardinals.
With Matz no longer returning to the Blue Jays and Robbie Ray still in free agency, the franchise is most likely going to be turning to either the free-agent market or trade partners in order to supplement losing Matz and possibly Ray this offseason. While there is a possibility that the 2021 Cy Young winner could return, the Blue Jays do have a few options available if they are looking to replace the 2.0 bWAR that Matz put up this past year.