The Blue Jays did not offer free agent starter Ross Stripling a qualifying offer.
Toronto decided against the one-year, $19.65 million offer for the veteran pitcher, allowing Stripling to walk to the open market without a compensation pick attached. Stripling could still return to Toronto, but the Jays will not get a draft pick if he signs elsewhere. The list of qualified players was first reported by ESPN's Jeff Passan.
After Hyun Jin Ryu's season ended with elbow surgery, Stripling stepped into Toronto's rotation in 2022 and provided needed quality innings. The righty posted a 10-4 record, logging 134.1 innings with a 3.01 ERA. Despite a strong 2022, recent contract comparables signaled that the Jays were unlikely to extend Stripling the qualifying offer. Per Passan, 14 players received qualifying offers this offseason, including Joc Pederson, Chris Bassitt, and Tyler Anderson.
Had the Jays offered Stripling the QO, as they did with Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien last year, the player could've accepted the one-year extension offer, or rejected it, entering free agency with a compensation pick attached to his name.
The Jays have been in touch with Stripling already this offseason and "expressed interest in bringing him back," Ben Nicholson-Smith reported. However, if the veteran pitcher leaves, Toronto will have a clear hole in the middle of its rotation.
The Jays have Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman atop the starting rotation, José Berríos penciled in for consistent innings, and Yusei Kikuchi and Mitch White to fight for depth roles. But, there are plenty of trade and free agent options, including Stripling, who would elevate Toronto's starting group.
As of 5 pm ET on Thursday, Nov. 5, Stripling and all free agents are eligible to sign with any of MLB's 30 teams.