The Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to terms on a two-year extension with veteran right-hander Marco Estrada, according to a report from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick on Friday night.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post had reported last night that the two sides were nearing a deal to keep the 32-year-old in Toronto for the next two seasons.
The news came just hours before the 5:00 PM EST deadline where Estrada had to accept or decline the club's qualifying offer worth $15.8 million which was sent out to him last week.
As many would say, this comes as a well deserved gift for the prized pitcher who had a spectacular first season in Toronto having come over from Milwaukee in mid-May. Adam Lind was traded the other way after nine seasons with the Blue Jays.
Throughout the past couple of days, there had been some talk with regards to Estrada declining the team's offer as he was wanting a multi-year contract to make him feel more comfortable. It seems Toronto was understanding and was capable of putting together a deal after extensive talks throughout the week.
When asked about the possibility in which Estrada would return, interim general manager Tony LaCava said, "We’d love to have him back. He was a big part of our success this year.”
This move stabilizes and adds more depth to the organization's starting rotation. The rotation for the coming season is likely to be made up of Estrada, alongside RHP R.A. Dickey, LHP Mark Buehrle, RHP Marcus Stroman and RHP Drew Hutchison, which is almost exactly as to how it was in 2015.
David Price would be the only exception as it is unlikely we see him return to the Blue Jays in 2016 as many teams are said to be looking at the 2010 Cy Young award winning left-hander at the moment. One of the teams known at this time are the San Francisco Giants.
Estrada could use some extra work going into spring training as he has struggled when it comes to home runs given up as well as his K:BB ratio. With a little bit of practice before the club arrives in Dunedin this March, Estrada could become an ace after having proven he was one this past season being Toronto's most consistent performer since being placed in the rotation in May.
Over the course of the 2015 season, Estrada posted a 3.13 ERA having made 28 starts while pitching 181.0 innings, allowing 67 runs on 134 hits, 24 of those being home runs, and striking out 131 hitters.
With Estrada locked up through the 2017 season, he guarantees the team a chance at reaching the playoffs once again after having clinched the AL East for the first time since 1993, which adds up to a grand total of 22 years. Fans have loved all that he has had to provide and look forward to seeing what else he has in store.