Marco Estrada was reintroduced to the Toronto Media on Tuesday after completing his two year contract to stay with the club.
Estrada, who was a Godsend for the Blue Jays this season signed a deal worth 26 million dollars that will give the 32 year old financial security that he had never had before.
The Jays right hander completed the season with a 12-8 record and a 3.28 ERA in 170.1 innings pitched as a starter, going 13-8 with a 3.13 ERA in 181 innings pitched overall. In the postseason he ratcheted it up even further by going 2-0 with a 2.36 ERA in three starts, including two in elimination games.
When asked how he would approach the 2016 season with security like never before, the even keeled Estrada offered a measured response
“I want to keep proving that I can pitch here. I’m going to have the same mentality. I’m going to act like I’m a rookie and have a lot to prove, because that just makes me work harder and want it more. My mentality isn’t going to change one bit.”
The expectation for the Blue Jays is, even if Estrada does regress from last year, he’s still being paid in line with other mid rotation starters in the Major Leagues. But, unlike flamethrowers who get older, Estrada does not have to worry about a steep drop as their velocity deserts them, the 32 year old relies on off-speed stuff, including a devastating change up that leaves hitters looking silly.
Estrada arrived to the Blue Jays after spending time with the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for fan favorite, Adam Lind, and at first was apprehensive about moving to a new country which he didn’t really know a lot about. But he soon realized those doubts were misplaced.
“As the year went on I fell in love with the city and the team and everybody here and I knew it was the place I wanted to be,” Estrada said. “That means the world, knowing that they liked it as much as I did here. It was an easy decision to stay.”
Interim Blue Jays General Manager, Tony LaCava, was happy to talk about the risk from the Blue Jays side of things, even though they did not view it as such.
“We think that he can maintain that level of performance — maybe not to the level that he did this year — but certainly someone that we can count on going forward,” “Marco was a huge part of our success last year,” LaCava said. “He performed great and was a great teammate. He exemplifies everything we’re looking for in a Blue Jays player. He earned this contract.”
Now the Jays face a challenge on how to plug one, perhaps two holes in the rotation moving forward, but are in luck due to the high quality of arms left available on the market.