There aren’t any concrete trade rumours attached to Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada at the moment, but if the team can’t fight their way back into the playoff race sooner or later there will be.
Estrada is making $14.5 million in 2017 and is scheduled to become a free agent following the season. The 33-year-old isn’t certain what the future holds and doesn’t like thinking about potential transactions, but knows he’ll be having some important conversations with team management at some point later this year.
“I don’t like to think about that sort of stuff,” Estrada told Sportsnet’s Starting Lineup Wednesday. “I keep saying the same thing. I want to come back. I want to play here in this city and be a Blue Jay but it’s not always up to me. We’ll see what happens. I’m not going to get into it but I know that time’s coming.”
Toronto has the oldest roster in the majors and the worst record in the American League. There’s never a shortage of teams seeking starting pitching and Estrada, who isn’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer, would garner plenty of attention if it does get to the point where the Blue Jays consider themselves sellers.
“It’s baseball. It’s a business and it doesn’t always work out the way you want it to but hopefully in my case it does,” Estrada said of wanting to remain a member of the Blue Jays.
Estrada is 1-2 with a 3.14 ERA, and a team-high 45 strikeouts in seven starts this season. He’s hopeful his team can get back on track and make a run when several of his teammates (like Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin and Aaron Sanchez) get healthy.
“Once we get those few guys that are on the DL it’s going to be like we made a trade,” he said. “The guys we’re missing right now are all-star calibre players, so getting those guys back is going to make us that much better.”
Estrada, when healthy, has been a quality starter since being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for Adam Lind in 2014. His tenure in Toronto might not have gotten off to the best of starts but he credits a positive clubhouse and former Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle in particular for helping him succeed.
“I’ve got to be honest, when I first got traded here no one made me feel good. I heard a lot of negative comments and whatnot but maybe that added a little bit of fuel to my fire,” Estrada said. “I wanted to prove to everybody that I am a good pitcher and I can pitch really well for this club and I think that’s what I’ve done since I’ve been a Blue Jay.
“I’ve completely changed the way I look at the game and the way I go about things. It’s just been a mixture of everything that’s gotten me to where I am now.”