As the remaining four teams battle it out for a spot in the World Series, most other clubs are already well into what will surely be a long and uncertain off-season in Major League Baseball.
“I’ve been fortunate to be with the Angels and the Blue Jays — the only two teams I’ve been with. And both of them have been very good organizations,” Shoemaker said. The right-hander joined Toronto on a one-year deal in 2018 after a decade in L.A., and re-signed with the Blue Jays last off-season.
“Obviously I want a good fit,” he said of his free agency priority. “I just want to go to a team that’s just hungry, right? And the Jays are hungry, man. Like, we’ve got this really young team who just love the game, fiery players, really talented. And just being a part of this team the last two years, just seeing the capability and where it can go, just stuff like that.”
Between injuries and a pandemic, the 34-year-old was limited to just 57 innings pitched in 11 starts in the past two seasons combined, registering a 3.14 ERA in that time.
“I just want to go out there and play this game… pretty simple,” he said.
Only, considering COVID-19 still dictates so many aspects of our lives these days, this off-season will likely be anything but. MLB has not yet laid out its plans for the 2021 season’s COVID-19 protocol, and the Blue Jays’ situation will be particularly interesting — just like it was this year, when they played out of Buffalo as their home field due to the Canadian government’s decision not to waive the quarantine rule for incoming teams.
Shoemaker has made clear his desire to stay in Toronto before, and re-iterated Wednesday that he hopes the Blue Jays have interest in bringing him back while praising the city and its fans. But he also noted that the unknowns, including federal COVID concerns beyond MLB’s control, could potentially prompt a “really big discussion” when it comes to any destination-based decisions.
Shoemaker also covered a variety of other topics during Wednesday’s extensive interview, including how quarantine affected the Blue Jays’ team culture, his account of being pulled mid-game during the team’s wild-card series against the Tampa Bay Rays, and more. Listen to the full interview here: