Blue Jays, right-hander Kevin Gausman agree to five-year, $110M contract

Arden Zwelling talks about the Toronto Blue Jays finally signing Kevin Gausman, what the pitcher can bring to the clubhouse and if the team will add another arm.

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays reached an agreement with right-hander Kevin Gausman on a $110-million, five-year deal according to two industry sources, locking in another front-of-the-rotation starter for an extended period.

Gausman, 30, was pursued aggressively by general manager Ross Atkins last winter and turned down a multi-year deal to accept an $18.9-million qualifying offer from the San Francisco Giants.

But that initial courtship made an impression and the Blue Jays were able to sway him this time around after he followed up a strong 2020 with an all-star 2021 for the NL West champions.

“More than anything the decision came down to comfortability,” Gausman said in an interview during the all-star game in July. “It’s hard to want to sign somewhere for multiple years when you don’t know what to expect, even more so adding in all the COVID (uncertainty). The fact that they’re in Buffalo didn’t have anything to do with my decision, but after the fact, you think about those things and it’s like, maybe we made the right decision. I love Toronto, it’s one of my favorite cities, I’ve always loved playing there. It has a special place in my heart because I made my debut in Toronto and they made a very competitive offer to me.

“But the one for $18.9 million was just too much to pass up and I was going back to a place where I felt comfortable with all the people that I knew were going to be in place, from the pitching coach to the manager, to all the strength coaches, knowing that they were just going to let me do what I did the year before and had success doing. All of those things factored into it.”

The Blue Jays held meetings with him Sunday and felt their chances of landing him were 50-50. His contract is the second-richest ever handed by the franchise to a pitcher, behind the $131-million, seven-year extension Jose Berrios signed earlier this month.

Berrios and Gausman form an impressive 1-2 punch at the front of the rotation, with Hyun Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah, Ross Stripling, and Nate Pearson currently in place to fill out the staff.

Another starter is still on the Blue Jays’ wish list and they remain in contact with AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, although it’s unclear if they want another big-money starter on the books.

They also need an infielder after Marcus Semien reached an agreement on a $175-million, seven-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

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