Blue Jays’ Estrada: ‘We’re going to be right back in it’

Marco Estrada joined Brady and Walker to talk about the Blue Jays’ upcoming season, how they expect to compete after a great playoff run, and if Aaron Sanchez should be on the starting rotation.

Many teams would have loved to add starting pitcher Marco Estrada coming off the best season of his career, yet he returned to the Toronto Blue Jays on a two-year, $26 million contract.

The decision to return was an easy one for the 32-year-old right-hander because he knew if the team remained intact there would be a good opportunity to make another playoff run.

“I enjoyed Toronto so much the entire year, but for me, it was somewhere in August where I said ‘I have to come back,'” Estrada told Brady and Walker on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Wednesday afternoon. “This team is ridiculous, I can’t believe how good we are.

“That was one of the main reasons I wanted to come back. I knew if the team pretty much stuck together that we were going to do it all over again.”

David Price's departure left a big hole in Toronto's rotation, but Estrada points out that with the backing of a lineup that scored an MLB-high 891 runs in 2015, the pitching does not need to carry the team.

"With our offence, we're going to be right back in it," Estrada said. "You don't need three aces to do really well with our team."

Estrada doesn't doubt that Mark Shapiro will be willing to add a piece or two midseason, much like former general manager Alex Anthopoulos did at the 2015 trade deadline.

"Our old GM, Alex, he made some huge moves for us, and who's to say that won't happen again?" Estrada said. "If we’re in it again, Shapiro might come in and add some big name pieces to our team to make us that much better."

One of the players already on the roster that the Blue Jays will be looking to get extra mileage out of will be right-hander Aaron Sanchez.

Sanchez began 2015 as a starter, but was moved back to the bullpen after straining a lat muscle in June. He thrived as a reliever, pitching to a 2-2 record with a 2.39 ERA. He also appeared in nine playoff games and didn't surrender an earned run.

Despite the success pitching in relief, Estrada hopes his young teammate can help bolster the rotation in 2016.

"I know he's worked hard this year and I think he'll be ready to go," Estrada said. "Hopefully he shows the team that he can start because I'd love to have him in there for sure.

"He's one of my closest teammates. I get along with him really well. He's always talked about starting; it's what he wants to do, and obviously I'm here to push him forward. I'm going to try and help him out as much as I can.

Estrada went on to talk about the Blue Jays' fantasy football league, some of Josh Donaldson's oddities, and which television show he'd like to make a cameo on (full interview in video).