The starting rotation was a problem for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 and the team could be looking at a well-known veteran to help right the ship in 2018.
Sabathia began his MLB career with the Cleveland Indians, so he’s familiar with Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins, both of whom were with that organization during the lefty’s time there.
The Blue Jays meeting with Sabathia is an interesting development, especially considering what Atkins said Monday when addressing the starting pitching market.
“In our opinion, there’s more depth to the relief market, the outfield market, than there is the starting pitching market,” Atkins told reporters in Florida. “That’s because it’s harder to find … It’d be rare for it not to be the case.”
Sabathia has made roughly $25 million per year in salary dating back to 2010, but considering his age, it’s unlikely he would garner close to that this upcoming season—even on a one-year deal.
“Free agency (for) starting pitching is a tough place to be,” Atkins added. “To me it just comes down to durability. That is a secret weapon in baseball. If you can help starting pitchers stay healthy or identify and develop starting pitchers that will haul 200 innings year-in and year-out, that’s a competitive advantage.”
The 37-year-old had a 14-5 record and 3.69 ERA in 27 starts and 148.2 innings pitched this past season.