This offseason has been very different from the previous two on a number of levels.
In addition to several huge deals being inked by the end of the Winter Meetings (Strasburg and Cole being the biggest), we are also seeing players that normally wouldn’t make particularly substantial salaries making real money.
Case in point: Tanner Roark. While he was one of the more promising young starters in the National League through 2016 including a pair of seasons with a sub-3 ERA, the last couple of seasons out of him have been fairly mediocre. He has posted seasons of 2.2 and 2.0 fWAR in 2018 and 2019 respectively with ERAs north of 4 with subpar strikeout rates. Again, most certainly not terrible, but not a guy that would necessarily be excited to be paying eight figures a year.
Which is exactly what the Blue Jays are doing.
Tanner Roark’s deal with the Jays: two years, $24m— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 11, 2019
There are definitely things that Roark does well. He has never walked a ton of batters and he has made 30 or more starts in each of the last four seasons. Having that type of consistency is important for any club to have in their rotation. He also isn’t THAT far removed from being significantly better than that, so it is possible that the Blue Jays think that they can unlock something with Roark.
However, the downside is that in a league that is seeing a lot of home runs hit, Roark is a guy that will definitely give them up. He has given up 23 or more homers in each of the last three seasons and he isn’t a guy that gets a ton of ground balls or soft contact for that matter.
Either way, while Roark may not look the part of a $12 million a year player on paper, that doesn’t change the fact that that is exactly what he is now.