It is time to buy-in to Marco Estrada. Sign this man long term, and the Blue Jays look like they are doing just that. According to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal, Toronto is discussing a multi-year deal with the right-hander with this Friday being the decision deadline. If he rejects the offer, Toronto will receive a compensatory pick in 2016. Apart from having one of the best “now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t” changeups in the game, Estrada was second on the Blue Jays in ERA (3.13) behind David Price, and fifth in the AL. He also played a vital part in the postseason, starting and winning two make-or-break games. If Toronto is unable to dish out the money for David Price (sources say biggest contract in baseball) then the front office has to make sure that Marco Estrada is in a blue and white jersey next year. If he were to accept his qualifying offer of $15.8 million dollars, it would have been a 300 percent raise on his 2015 salary of $3.9 million.
David Price is another story, and, like some, I believe he will sign elsewhere. His inevitable six-seven year, $200-million-plus deal will be just too much for the 2016 reported budget of $138 million US. Reports have surfaced that Toronto is also looking into Zack Greinke, which further complicates the re-signing of Price.
There is also the most obvious scenario that neither of these stud pitchers will be pitching for Toronto in 2016. Tony LaCava has already set a plan in motion if this is the case. Rookie closer Roberto Osuna, Aaron Sanchez, and Australian Liam Hendriks, are all reportedly getting a shot at starting next campaign. This comes in the wake of the possible news that the club will no longer be able to keep their ace, sign a new one, nor re-sign Estrada (which is doubtful).
Osuna, the professional starting pitcher since the age of 12, was one of the best closers in the game last year, but many, including myself, believe his arm deserves a shot at taking care of business in the starting role. It would fill a hole in the rotation, provide depth, and would allow him to fall right back into the bullpen if things went sideways. Aaron Sanchez, who didn’t let up an earned run during the postseason, already has a successful resume as a starter and will most likely find his way back into the rotation one way or another. Hendriks may be a bit of a stretch, with most of his major league success coming out of the bullpen. In three seasons with Minnesota, the 26-year-old Australian posted a starting record of 2-13 and a 6.06 ERA. It would be nice to see Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada *insert player to be named later here*, and either Aaron Sanchez or Roberto Osuna in the rotation.
Jordan Zimmerman could service himself as an affordable pitcher for Toronto. Coming off a career year in 2014, where he pitched to a 14-5 record accompanied by a 2.66 ERA, Zimmerman had one of his worst seasons in 2015. He not only gained a full run in his ERA (3.66) but his velocity dropped a full mile per hour from 94 MPH to 93 MPH. His potential makes him a great pick-up in a “buy-low” market. Not only will the Blue Jays pick up a trustworthy veteran arm, but it will be good to have the guy who blanked Toronto over eight innings pitched this campaign. Zimmermann’s cost could get bid up by the teams who miss out on Price and Greinke.