Blue Jays right-hander Matt Shoemaker seems open to signing a multiyear deal with the club, but the two sides haven’t made progress in contract talks, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. There’s a hesitance on the team’s part to give Shoemaker two guaranteed years or even one with a vesting option including performance-based escalators, Nicholson-Smith reports.
While Toronto’s reluctant to commit to Shoemaker, that doesn’t necessarily mean his time with the team is up. The Blue Jays could still welcome back Shoemaker in 2020, his last arbitration-eligible season, on what MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects would be a reasonable $3.5MM salary (the same amount he collected this season). The Jays have preferred to cut that down to $3MM with a club option for 2021, but Shoemaker hasn’t bit, Nicholson-Smith relays. Should no compromise come together by the Dec. 2 non-tender deadline, the team could cut ties with Shoemaker.
A former Angel, with whom he endured multiple injury-limited seasons, Shoemaker joined the Jays in free agency last winter and then got off to an encouraging start. He took the ball five times and amassed 28 2/3 innings of 1.57 ERA/3.95 FIP pitching with 7.53 K/9, 2.83 BB/9 and a 51.4 percent groundball rate before an injury cut him down yet again. Shoemaker tore his left ACL in late April and didn’t pitch for the rest of the season, though he does seem to be progressing well in his recovery.
Whether the Jays bring back Shoemaker could inform their offseason plans to some degree. Even though the club doesn’t look as if it’ll contend for a playoff spot in 2020, it nonetheless seems likely to push for rotation help in the next few months. The Jays already acquired one starter – former Brewer Chase Anderson – and it’s doubtful he’ll be the last one they trade for or sign prior to next year.