TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays and Marco Estrada are nearing agreement on what’s expected to be a one-year contract extension that could be announced as soon as Wednesday, an industry source told Sportsnet.
The news, first reported by MLB.com’s Jon Morosi late Tuesday night, adds a bit more certainty to the Blue Jays rotation for 2018, with the right-hander slotting in behind Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ. Joe Biagini is also being looked at as a potential starter while veteran lefty Brett Anderson is with the team for an extended audition.
General manager Ross Atkins hinted at an extension when Estrada wasn’t dealt before the non-waiver trade deadline, saying, “we’ll start thinking about not only how he impacts us now, but how he can potentially impact us beyond 2017.”
Later that day, after Estrada threw seven innings of one-run ball against the Chicago White Sox, he said in an interview that, “I’m sure they want me back. I hope they do. I’ve expressed a lot that I’m really happy here and I’d like to stay, and I guess today is a sign of that if I wasn’t traded.”
“Or maybe nobody really wanted me – I haven’t been pitching all that great and it’s hard to get what you want for me. I don’t know. That stuff, I really don’t want to worry about it. I’m here, I’m pitching for these guys, at the end of the season we’ll try and work something out, I hope. That’s all I can ask for.”
Estrada is finishing out a $26-million, two-year deal he signed after his breakout 2015 season, starring in the playoffs the past two years while growing into one of the team’s more popular players.
The new deal comes 11 games before he would have become a free agent, and in the midst of a strong rebound from a dismal 10-start stretch in June and July during which he posted an 8.87 ERA in 45.2 innings with a 1.019 OPS against.
Over his past 10 starts, he’s pitched to a 3.75 ERA in 62.1 innings with 48 strikeouts and a .678 OPS against.