As the sun has set on the annual winter meetings in San Diego and on the night of Kawhi’s illustrious return to his kingdom, another Toronto team went out to bolster their roster – and no the Leafs did not sign a quality backup goaltender.

The Toronto Blue Jays went out and signed their first free agent of the offseason, Tanner Roark.

For some Jays fans this signing is less than significant, however I see it as an overall step in the right direction. The front office has been actively working the phones with rumblings of being in on the big names such as Keuchel, Ozuna, and Ryu. They now have a legitimate starter with veteran leadership skills but at a hefty price.

Last season Roark began with the Cincinnati Reds before being shipped off to Oakland for a postseason push. An innings-eater no doubt, Roark has averaged 194 innings over the course of his seven year career. Heavily a sinkerball pitcher, last season he had a bit less break on his sinker and his fastball never seemed to exceed 92-93 MPH. The 2019 season was Roark’s highest for strikeouts per 9 as he averaged 8.6 k/9 and had a 2.0 WAR.

 

With the Yankees being the face of the AL East after their acquisition of Gerrit Cole for the next nine seasons, it’ll be tough for the Jays to be considered a contender especially with the fact they are in the toughest division in the American League.

OVERVIEW

Roark’s contract is much similar to the one Alex Anthopolous handed out to J.A. Happ back in 2015. In the long run they can possibly use him to leverage a decent prospect in 2021 if he can control his stuff in the hitter-friendly ballpark that is the Rogers Center. Overall, the signing is a win for the boys in blue after it has been well documented about the difficulties trying to bring in big names to Toronto.  It is going to be interesting to see the approach that Shapiro and Atkins take with 62 days left until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. There are still a few holes left to fill in the roster.