After being formally issued a qualifying offer worth $15.8 million from the Toronto Blue Jays a week ago, it appears Marco Estrada could stay with the team via a longer-term deal. Joel Sherman reported Thursday night that the deal would be worth $26 million over two years.
Hear if finalized Estrada will be 2-year at about $26M. #Bluejays— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 13, 2015
Estrada's camp had until Friday to accept or decline the qualifying offer, but it appears as though that decision may no longer matter. Colby Rasmus has reportedly become the first player to accept a qualifying offer, but some expected Estrada to entertain that idea as well. Many people at least believed it would hurt his free agent value considerably.
Estrada enjoyed a resurgence with the Blue Jays organization last season. Typically labeled a 'hitters park', Rogers Centre was a friendly place for Estrada despite him having the second-highest flyball percentage of any qualified pitcher. His home run to flyball rate was a career-low 8.7 percent. A number that some believe will regress, however, there is no diminishing his work ethic with battery mate Dioner Navarro. Last season, Estrada posted the lowest ERA of his career.
In fact, Estrada and Navarro's working relationship appeared so good to fans, it has some worrying about the latter departing via free agency. Navarro -- who has expressed interest in a starting job -- caught Estrada for the majority of the season and had great results. While Navarro was catching, Estrada had a 2.63 ERA. However, when Russell Martin worked behind the plate, Estrada's ERA was 4.11. Blue Jays' general manager Tony LaCava doesn't put much stock into that however, saying "I wouldn't put much into that." Shi Davidi of Sportsnet also suggested "Martin mostly caught Estrada early, when he was transitioning back to the rotation from the bullpen and before he added the cutter and fully refined his curveball."
Estrada will undoubtedly rejoin a beleaguered Blue Jays rotation that will include Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey. The remaining two rotation spots could go to Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Drew Hutchison or Liam Hendriks.