Considered a potential trade candidate prior to the 2018 season, is Marco Estrada still in a position where he could be moved by the Toronto Blue Jays sometime between now and July 31?
Overall, Estrada has a 36-33 record and a 3.96 ERA in 105 starts for the Blue Jays, as of June 27. As such, it makes sense why he was recently named by MLB Trade Rumors as one of the top 50 trade candidates.
And yet, you can still question if the 34-year-old truly is a viable candidate to be moved sometime before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The reality is he has been less than inspiring for the majority of the 2018 campaign.
Following an efficient performance during his first outing of the season, Estrada struggled. He did manage a 2-2 record in four starts during April, but his 6.75 ERA stood out like a sore thumb.
May wasn’t much better, as the Mexico native recorded a 5.40 ERA in six games. Even worse though, he recorded a 0-4 record in those six starts.
As the calendar turned to June, it didn’t make for very pretty reading. Through 11 starts, Estrada had a 2-6 record and 5.68 ERA, while averaging less than five innings per outing.
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, there has been a change in their pitcher’s fortunes, since entering the month of June. In fact, the 2005 sixth round draft pick has been arguably one of the best hurlers in the Majors.
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Estrada has registered a 2-1 record and 1.75 ERA in four games, going at least six innings in each outing. So what has led to this turnaround in form?
In truth, there is nothing of major significance which has contributed to the former Milwaukee Brewers’ production. However, the tweaks have obviously still been successful enough.
As per Jeff Todd and Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors, Estrada’s fastball has been particularly effective. Valued at -1.53 runs per 100 pitches through May, this has jumped to a +4.27 valuation on a rate basis during June.
Todd and Adams also point to the righty’s first-pitch strike rate during June. His efficiency has improved, from 63.4 percent to 69.5 percent.
The question is, will this be enough to entice teams to inquire about Estrada? The reality is, as reliable as he can be over the course of a season, he has shown a tendency to display extended streaks of both efficiency and ineffectiveness.
As discussed, this has been the case this season. And another prime example was 2016, when Estrada’s production dipped considerably around the time of being named to the All-Star Game.
Essentially, any team taking a gamble on the former Washington Nationals’ draft pick, will be taking just that – a gamble. Will they be getting the pitcher who we’ve seen during June, or the version which struggled before then?
As such, expect any interest to come as we get closer to the non-waiver trade deadline, as teams wait to see if Estada continues his fine form into the month of July. Either way though, don’t expect him to return to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019, with him set to become a free agent at the conclusion of this season.
What do you believe the future holds for Estrada? Will he be moved before the non-waiver trade deadline, or remain with the Toronto Blue Jays for the rest of this season? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.