It would have seemed very far-fetched when they acquired Marco Estrada from the Brewers last offseason and even now comes as a mild surprise, but the Blue Jays have made the $15.8 million Qualifying Offer to the 32-year-old free agent.
That means Estrada now has the option of accepting a one-year, $15.8 million deal to remain in Toronto or declining the offer and hitting the open market as a free agent. If he signs elsewhere the Blue Jays would receive a compensatory draft pick.
Estrada had a career-year for the Blue Jays, logging a career-high 181 innings with a career-best 3.13 ERA, but his secondary numbers weren’t much different than his previous norms. In fact, his strikeout rate of 6.5 per nine innings was a career-low and he walked the same number of batters as usual while serving up 24 home runs.
He likely would have had plenty of multi-year offers without the draft pick compensation attached, but the number of teams willing to forfeit a draft pick for the right to give a big contract to a 32-year-old with a lifetime 3.95 ERA could be limited. Which is exactly what Estrada will have to consider before deciding to accept or decline the $15.8 million for 2016.