As per Jeff Passan, the Blue Jays have signed starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker to a one year deal.
This is a solid move for Toronto who’ve managed to acquire a decent starting pitcher without having to over commit to a multi-year contract. In addition, the Blue Jays will have the option of going to arbitration with Shoemaker after next season, as he still won’t reach his 6-years of service time until after the 2020 season.
Shoemaker hasn’t been the same pitcher since taking a devastating line drive off his head in September 2016. Then in both 2017 and 2018, he saw limited action due to issues with his forearm. Prior to these injuries however, Shoemaker pitched to an impressive 32-27 record, with a 3.80 ERA between 2014-2016.
The timing of this acquisition was smart for the Blue Jays who couldn’t afford to wait any longer, only to see the free agent talent pool dwindle with each passing day. Prior to last season, they waited until February before finally signing Jaime Garcia, as he was one of the few free agent starting pitchers worth taking a chance on. Thankfully this winter they were a tad more proactive on the starting pitching front and managed to acquire someone who should fare better than Garcia. That is as long as Shoemaker can remain healthy.
Matt Shoemaker’s deal with the Toronto Blue Jays has a $3.5 million guarantee and can add another $1 million in performance bonuses, per source. While it’s a one-year deal, the Blue Jays control Shoemaker for the 2020 season as well because he’ll be just shy of six service years.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 28, 2018
What does the addition of Shoemaker mean for the current state of Toronto’s rotation? As it stands, their depth chart is Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Ryan Borucki, and Shoemaker. Beyond those four players, they have a slew of unproven pitchers (including Sean Reid-Foley, Sam Gaviglio, Thomas Pannone, and Trent Thornton) who likely aren’t quite ready to begin the season as part of Toronto’s rotation. This leads one to believe that the Blue Jays front office isn’t quite finished in their search for starting pitchers.
Many solid free agents remain who shouldn’t come with the sort of price tag that would scare off a rebuilding team like the Blue Jays. Several players who may be of interest to Toronto as they work to round-out their rotation include Gio Gonzalez, James Shields, Drew Pomeranz, and Clay Buchholz.