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Blue Jays' Updated Starting Rotation, Payroll After Kevin Gausman's $110M Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 29, 2021

Lachlan Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Robbie Ray might be headed out the door, but Kevin Gausman is on his way north of the border.

ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Gausman agreed to a five-year, $110 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

Ray remains unsigned. Even if the 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner winds up elsewhere, Toronto has a pretty formidable starting rotation with Gausman in tow:

  • Jose Berrios 
  • Kevin Gausman 
  • Hyun Jim Ryu 
  • Alek Manoah 
  • Ross Stripling

Prior to signing Gausman, the Blue Jays were on track to have $111.3 million in total payroll commitments, per Spotrac, which put them 12th in MLB. If his salary is spread evenly over the five years ($22 million), Toronto would climb to 10th in terms of payroll.

Gausman's contract is the fourth-biggest in franchise history, and a telling fact is that three of the top four have now come within the last two offseasons.

Spotrac @spotrac

All-Time <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BlueJays?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlueJays</a> Contracts<br>1. G. Springer, $150M<br>2. J. Berrios, $131M<br>3. V. Wells, $126M<br>4. K. Gausman, $115M<br>5. R. Martin, $82M<br>6. H. Ryu, $80M<br>7. A. Rios, $69.8M<br>8. C. Delgado, $68M<br>9. J. Bautista, $64M<br>10. A. Burnett, $55M

Blue Jays fans watched the team reach the American League Championship Series in 2015 and 2016, only to turn around and post back-to-back losing seasons. Heading into 2019, there was at least some optimism about a farm system headlined by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette and what it could achieve in the future.

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The organization turned a corner by making the playoffs in 2020 and while it missed out on the postseason in 2021, it had a higher winning percentage (91-71, .562) than the year before (32-28, .533).

Landing George Springer last winter and handing a seven-year, $131 million extension to Jose Berrios were both signs that ownership is willing to pony up in order to capitalize on a window for contention.

Passan reported Marcus Semien, who finished third in the AL MVP voting, agreed to a seven-year, $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers. There's also the uncertainty surrounding Ray. Their departures would obviously deal a blow to Toronto's hopes of claiming an AL East title in 2022.

On the whole, the offseason is still shaping up nicely for the Jays.

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