Toronto Blue Jays "Interested" In Bringing Back Free Agent Pitcher

The Toronto Blue Jays are facing a dilemma with their pitching staff this offseason. While the top two slots in the rotation are set for the near future, with Cy Young finalist Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman, that No. 3 starter spot is a bit shaky. 

Jose Berrios was supposed to fill that role, but he struggled through the worst season of his career posting a 5.23 ERA, a 1.42 WHIP and just 7.8 K/9, all of them career lows for him since his rookie year in 2016. 

It was Ross Stripling, instead, who stepped in admirably to fill the No. 3 role, and he merely had the best year of his career. Stripling posted a 3.01 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP and 10 wins—all career bests.  But alas, Stripling is now a free agent, and many pundits are wondering if the Jays will pony up for what is expected to be a very nice payday—the 33-year-old Stripling's first such windfall. 

A report today says the Jays are indeed angling to keep Stripling if they can.

Jays beat writer Ben Nicholson-Smith writes that the team has been in touch with Stripling and "expressed interest in bringing him back."

Toronto has until Thursday to make Stripling a Qualifying Offer, if they choose, which is set at $19.65M. Making the QO ensures that the team receives draft pick compensation for a free agent that signs elsewhere. However, that $20M-ish price tag might be a bit too pricey for the Jays' liking. They could try to bring him back on perhaps a two-year deal for somewhere between $20-25M. But whether Stripling will push for a 3-year deal is unknown. 

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