What does Steven Matz’s deal with the Cardinals mean for the Blue Jays? – The Athletic

The Blue Jays entered the offseason interested in retaining three of their key free agents, but now the first of those players has opted to sign elsewhere.

Steven Matz agreed to a four-year, $44 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals early Wednesday, according to several reports, including from The Athletic. The left-hander reportedly had multiple suitors, including the Blue Jays, after he enjoyed a bounce-back season with the club. But the 30-year-old opted to return to the National League.

Losing Matz, who pitched to a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts last season, might sting for the Blue Jays, but at the same time, that’s the nature of free agency, when players have several options to choose from. In the end, contract term likely played a role, with MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reporting the Blue Jays’ offer was only three years.

The loss of Matz creates a hole in Toronto’s rotation, but one the Blue Jays will have been prepared to fill. All along, the thinking has been that Toronto’s front office is after two starting pitchers this offseason, with at least one being a high-impact arm. Now we know Matz won’t be one of them. Toronto’s other major free agents, Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, who could be the ace they need, and MVP finalist

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