It took them a while, but the Toronto Blue Jays got their guy.
Toronto missed early on a top target last winter and waded back into free agency with eyes on the same prize in 2021. Despite many rival spenders, the Blue Jays finally signed starting pitcher Kevin Gausman.
Toronto agreed to terms with the free agent starter on a five-year, $110 million deal, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.
The Blue Jays offered the righty a multi-year deal early last offseason before he accepted San Francisco's qualifying offer. With Gausman back on the market, Toronto entered this offseason identifying him as a top target once again, per a team source.
After pitching for the Orioles, Braves, and Reds, Gausman joined the Giants in 2020 and found a new level. With a career 4.02 ERA and 8.9 K/9, Gausman posted 43 starts with the Giants, earning a 3.0 ERA and striking out 306 batters in 251.2 innings.
The 30-year-old bet on himself after a strong 2020 and was rewarded. Gausman pitched 192 innings for the Giants this past season, delivering a 2.81 ERA, 1.042 WHIP, and earning his third-straight season of a sub-4 FIP. He entered the free agent market as one of the best arms available and earned a deal that will keep him as a Blue Jay through his age 35 season, paying him an AAV of $22 million per year.
"There are some people you play with in your career that are just genuinely amazing human beings," MLB pitcher Alex Wood tweeted. "Gaus is one of those guys. The good guys do win and Toronto just got a baller."
Gausman joins a Blue Jays rotation of José Berríos, Alek Manoah, and Hyun Jin Ryu, with one more unclaimed spot. He also represents the latest investment—alongside Ryu, Berríos, and George Springer—in a core of young position players primed to compete in the American League East.
With Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in pre-arb or arbitration years, and a 91-win season to build off of, Toronto's management claimed their top goal was improvement this winter. The Jays had a phenomenal offseason last year, despite missing on Gausman, adding two of the top value deals in free agency. But this winter, they didn't let him get away.
H/T Jeff Passan