Marco Estrada is staying put…
The 32-year-old Mexican professional baseball pitcher has agreed to a $26 million, two-year contract to remain with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The team announced the agreement minutes before the deadline for Estrada to accept the Blue Jay’s $15.8 million qualifying offer for a one-year contract.
Estrada was 13-8 with a 3.13 ERA, setting career bests for wins, ERA and opponents’ batting average. He was 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in the playoffs, Toronto’s first postseason appearance since 1993.
“We obviously identified Marco as a priority to bring back after the season he had,” interim general manager Tony LaCava said during a conference call. “He was a big part of our success. We think that he can maintain that level of performance, maybe not to the level that he did this year, but certainly someone we can count on going forward who can help us defend the AL East title.”
Estrada gets a $1 million signing bonus payable by January 29 and salaries of $11 million next year and $14 million in 2017.
Estrada began 2015 in the bullpen but joined the rotation in early May after left-hander Daniel Norris was demoted to Triple-A. Estrada went winless in his first five starts then was 12-5 the rest of the way, beginning with a four-start winning streak between June 2 and June 19.
“He never looked back,” LaCava said. “He just continued to get stronger and stronger throughout the season.”
Estrada’s final start of the year was among his strongest. With Toronto facing elimination against the Kansas City Royals in the AL Championship Series, Estrada pitched one-hit ball into the eighth inning to help the Blue Jays win 7-1 in Game 5.
An eight-year veteran, Estrada has also pitched for Washington Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers. He joined the Blue Jays in a November 2014 trade that sent first baseman Adam Lind to the Brewers.