Three starting pitchers the Blue Jays could pursue to replace Steven Matz

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 01: Steven Matz #22 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning of their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 1, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 01: Steven Matz #22 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning of their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 1, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Blue Jays
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 02: Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres in the top of the first inning at Oracle Park on October 02, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Kevin Gausman

A pitcher that has been on the Blue Jays radar since last offseason, right-hander Kevin Gausman is a free agent once again this winter. After spending the first five and a half-season of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, Gausman bounced around a couple of years before settling in with San Francisco during the 2019/2020 offseason.

Since moving to the Bay Area, Gausman has put up fantastic numbers, a 3.00 ERA through 45 appearances with 306 strikeouts, a 1.057 WHIP, and a 6.6 bWAR through the last two seasons (one and a half considering last year was shortened). Career-wise, Gausman sports a 4.02 ERA with 1161 strikeouts through 236 games, 197 of which were starts.

The Blue Jays were interested in Gausman last winter and offered him a three-year deal in the $40 million range but he decided to head back to San Francisco after they presented him with the qualifying offer. I can’t really blame him for taking a chance to improve his stock on a one-year prove-it deal, especially since he is in line for a raise after the season he put with the Giants this past year.

One reason Gausman does seem appealing to the Blue Jays is that he does have experience at the Rogers Centre from when he was a member of the Orioles, posting a 3.83 ERA through 12 appearances North of the border.

The market for the Colorado product is quite competitive, as the Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Los Angeles Angels all appear to be showing interest in the soon to be 31 year old alongside the Blue Jays. Landing Gausman would be a very effective replacement for Matz, considering the right-hander put up a 5.2 bWAR last season compared to the southpaw’s 2.0 bWAR.

Gausman will cost the Blue Jays more in terms of salary per year versus what Matz was offered by the club before he signed with the Cardinals but would be a great rotation piece alongside Hyun Jin Ryu, Jose Berrios, and Alek Manoah, further cemented if Ray returns to the fold as well.

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