The Toronto Blue Jays have reached an agreement with free-agent right-hander Tanner Roark, according to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi. Roark’s contract with the Jays is a million, two-year deal, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports.
Roark, 33, finished the 2019 season with a 4.35 ERA and 1.397 WHIP in 31 starts (165 1/3 innings) for the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland Athletics. The veteran starter also recorded 158 strikeouts as opposed to giving up just 51 walks. He was traded to the A’s at the July 31 trade deadline.
Last month, the Blue Jays acquired right-hander Chase Anderson from the Brewers in exchange for minor leaguer Chad Spanberger. Anderson, 32, recorded an 8-4 record with a 4.21 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 27 starts. Roark, along with Anderson, will probably start the season at the top of Toronto’s rotation. Fellow veteran righty Matt Shoemaker is expected to slot into the rotation as well. Shoemaker, 33, missed most of the 2019 season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in April. Youngsters Trent Thornton, 26, and/or Ryan Borucki, 25, will likely be the other Blue Jays’ starters. Roark should provide a stable force in the Blue Jays rotation for the 2020 season. Roark’s proved his durability as he’s made at least 30 starts in five of the past six seasons. He’s also pitched at least 165 innings in the last four seasons. However, Roark, who sports a career 3.51 ERA, hasn’t been under the 4.34 mark since he recorded a 2.83 ERA in 2016 — when he finished 10th in the National League Cy Young voting — with the Washington Nationals. Ultimately, he’s likely to take a spot in Toronto’s rotation and eat some innings.