Where Do the Blue Jays Go from Here with Marco Estrada?

Tuesday was very likely a difficult day for Marco Estrada. Not only was he claimed on waivers by an American League team (hat tip to BP Toronto), Estrada got knocked around by the Tampa Bay Rays.

In fact, it’s been a whirlwind past few weeks for Estrada. After bottoming out value-wise, the trade deadline came and went and he remained in a Blue Jays uniform. Yet, in his three previous starts, Estrada looked like his old self again.

Then came the report about Estrada being put on waivers; followed by the report of him being claimed on waivers from yesterday. After that development, even Estrada himself wasn’t sure whether he would make yesterday’s start.


The future of Estrada and the Toronto Blue Jays seems quite murky at the moment. At one point, they may have discussed a contract extension, but with each passing Estrada start, one wonders whether it’s viable to bring him back next year.

There’s also the case of the timing of putting Estrada on waivers. Why did the Blue Jays wait until Friday to slip him through – why not throw him up there on August 1st? Given how poorly Estrada pitched heading into the deadline, surely, he would’ve cleared waivers.

Instead, the Blue Jays opted to wait – perhaps in an attempt to build some trade value. In doing so, the Jays increased the risk that Estrada may not pass through waivers at all. That’s the precise predicament the Blue Jays are in right now with Estrada.


Here’s my own harebrained theory (and I admit, it isn’t the soundest thought): perhaps the reason why the Blue Jays didn’t put Estrada on waivers is 1.) Just like Ken Rosenthal reported, Estrada drew very little trade interest, and 2.) both sides were genuinely working on a contract extension.

Waivers are merely clinical, but placing a player on waivers isn’t a sound negotiation tactic if you’re trying to re-sign them. It would be one thing if Estrada wanted to go elsewhere, but he hasn’t expressed an interest to move or play for a contender (not publicly, at least).

Something must’ve changed between August 1st and 10th. Coincidentally, Estrada threw a pair of seven inning outings during that span, which were among his ten best starts all season. Buy why now?


It’s a confusing dynamic to dive into and maybe I’ll looking into it way too much, but this much is true; the Blue Jays need to make a decision in the coming weeks as to the future of Estrada within the organization.

Do the Jays re-sign Estrada to a new deal (as was reported a few weeks back), or does the club simply let him walk as a free agent and find another starting pitcher to take his place next year?

Given the Blue Jays’ severe lack of depth in the starting pitching department, they should strongly consider bringing back Estrada next year. If he genuinely wants to stay in Toronto, then the hard part is over; it’s just merely a case of negotiating term and dollars.

Estrada may not return to his utterly-dominant self from those magical 2015 and 2016 seasons, but the Blue Jays still need a serviceable starter next year. At the very least, the Blue Jays need someone to eat up innings, even if those innings may be white-knuckle at times.

Although it’s been a turbulent few months for Estrada, I’d fully expect the Blue Jays to work towards bringing him back with a modest one or two-year contract.

After all, the heavy lifting is already done: Estrada wants to be in Toronto. The greater question is: do the Blue Jays want him back?


Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.