Whether you like the deal or not…1-year…$13 million, the Blue Jays are going to need Marco Estrada in 2018. That is unless you prefer a revolving door of starters similar to what the Blue Jays have implemented for much of 2017.
It looked as if Estrada’s value had gone down the tube, when, over the coarse of a 10-game stretch in June and July, he went 0-5 with an 8.87 ERA. This was a very different Estrada compared to what Blue Jay fans have grown accustomed to seeing. And with his contract up at seasons end, not only did it appear that Estrada wouldn’t be with Toronto for much longer, but that his best days were probably behind him.
With Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list for much of 2017, along with J.A. Happ spending over a month on there as well, Toronto’s starting rotation has been carried by one pitcher for much of the season, Marcus Stroman. To now have both Happ and Estrada looking very similar to the 2016 versions of themselves, it’s gone a long way to picking-up this banged-up rotation.
With Sanchez’ blister problem yet to be resolved, Toronto essentially had two bonafide starters in Stroman and Happ set to return in 2018. Brett Anderson, Joe Biagini, and Tom Koehler have shown glimpses of being quality starters, but their inconsistency still leaves a lot of doubts as to whether the Blue Jays should peg them to start for an entire season. Even with Estrada coming back now, it still leaves two spots in the rotation to be filled, assuming Sanchez isn’t ready of course.
$13 million is a considerable sum of money for a starting pitcher with an ERA close to 5.00 on the year. At the same time, it’s only a one year contract and a perfect opportunity for Estrada to prove he can still be one of the better starting pitchers in the American League, and that this past season was nothing more than a blip on the radar for the crafty veteran.