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The Blue Jays’ reported—and repeated—interest in Kevin Gausman over the years is well-documented. It’s almost comical, really.

“We almost reached a deal two years ago and last year, too,” Gausman said with a smirk. “It was kind of a matter of, ‘I think they’re gonna call again.’”

Gausman knew the Blue Jays would come calling, and this time it finally stuck. Toronto signed the right-hander to five-year, $110-million deal and officially introduced him to the media in a Zoom call Wednesday.

Sitting next to his wife Taylor, Gausman spoke about his past experiences at Rogers Centre, like his major league debut with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013 or being on the wrong end of Edwin Encarnacion’s epic walk-off homer in the 2016 AL Wild Card Game.

The 30-year-old credited Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins for courting him to Toronto and making sure the Gausman family would be accommodated. He even mentioned Steve Pearce and Dominic Leone, two former Jays who put in a good word when asked to reflect on their time in Toronto.

But what stood out the most amongst all his other desires?

“One of the biggest factors for me at this point in my career is I want to go somewhere and win,” Gausman said. “I want to win a championship. That's really my goal.”

Gausman spent the last two seasons as a member of the Giants; in 2021, San Francisco won the most regular-season games in franchise history but couldn’t advance past the NLDS.

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Now, coming off a spectacular season where he posted a career-low 2.81 ERA, finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting, and carried a “bad taste” in his mouth from falling just short in a playoff race, Gausman said he saw a unique opportunity in Toronto.

“Out of all the other teams that were involved, I felt like this was the best place to go and win now and win in the future,” Gausman said. “After talking to Ross, he just kind of made it apparent that they were going to do everything they could to put a winning product on the field.”

Toronto’s shown its commitment to winning over the past two off-seasons. Last winter the Blue Jays added proven veterans like Marcus Semien and George Springer—a player Gausman said he’s glad he doesn’t have to face anymore—and doubled down on that promise by engaging several high-end free agents this year before striking a deal with Gausman.

The idea of playing with a talented core of players like Springer, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and José Berríos should excite most free agents, but Gausman said he was looking forward to pitching alongside two of the Jays’ youngest arms.

“If you look at the young pitchers that they have,” Gausman said, “(Alek) Manoah and (Nate) Pearson, just all those all those young pieces coming back, learning and getting better, I just felt like it was a prime place that was gonna win for the near future.”

Gausman admitted he did more homework on this year’s free agency decision than in years past—he looked at Toronto’s roster, recognized the core players are under team control for a while, and got the impression Blue Jays’ management would “always be in (his) corner.”

Money talks of course, but there’s a reason Gausman reportedly turned down a more lucrative offer from the Mets to sign north of the border. He clearly liked what the Blue Jays are building, and he wanted to be a part of it. Even more importantly, he sees a path to a World Series here in Toronto.

“They just seem hungry,” Gausman said. “They seem like a team that wants to win, and it seems like all the guys like those big moments. They don't shy away from them, and part of that is probably their pedigree, having that good DNA.

“For me it just kind of made sense. The closer we got to decision time it was, ‘Alright, this is the team I think I'm gonna win the most with.’”