Amidst a flurry of activity surrounding Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon at the Winter Meetings, the Blue Jays bolstered their starting rotation with an under-the-radar free agent signing. On Wednesday afternoon, Toronto agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal with Tanner Roark.
The Blue Jays had 21 different pitchers start a game in 2019, the most in the majors. While a handful of these starters were relievers acting as openers, it’s still a shocking amount to work through in a single season. With Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez traded mid-season, there were moments in September when the pitching probables for Toronto were filled with TBDs.
After trading for Chase Anderson earlier this offseason, the Blue Jays continued to shore up their thin rotation by adding Roark, and they paid a bit of a premium for his durability. He’s made more than 30 starts in five of the last six seasons, with a stint in the bullpen in 2015 as the lone outlier. And though his innings total dropped to 165 in 2019 after three straight seasons of 180 innings or more, he made 31 starts split between Cincinnati and Oakland. His new pact with the Blue Jays has an average annual value higher than Kiley McDaniel ($10m AAV) or the crowd ($9.6m AAV) projected. With such a shaky rotation, the consistency and reliability of Roark was likely a factor in that slightly elevated salary. Read the rest of this entry »