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Roark, Blue Jays agree to 2-yr deal (source)

@KeeganMatheson
December 16, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with right-hander Tanner Roark, a source confirmed to MLB.com, their first notable move in free agency as they work to fill their rotation. It's a two-year deal worth $24 million, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. Toronto's agreement with Roark

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays have agreed to terms with right-hander Tanner Roark, a source confirmed to MLB.com, their first notable move in free agency as they work to fill their rotation. It's a two-year deal worth $24 million, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

Toronto's agreement with Roark was first reported by Shi Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet and has not yet been made official by the club.

Roark has been a target for the Blue Jays throughout the free-agent process because of his durability and reliability, something the club covets after a season that saw them roll out 21 starters, including plenty of young rookies and openers. Roark, 33, has made 30 or more starts in each of the past four seasons, posting a 3.99 ERA over that span.

"It's not that we went into this free-agent season, or this offseason, thinking that we have to get guys who have only been durable, but that is a very important piece to the equation in almost every starting pitching category," general manager Ross Atkins said Wednesday.

After spending the first six years of his career with the Nationals, Roark was traded to the Reds prior to the 2019 season. He made 21 starts for Cincinnati and was later dealt to the A's at the July Trade Deadline. He has made three career playoff appearances, all for the Nationals.

While this represents a first step for the Blue Jays, one which raises their floor, there remains a need for upside that the club has said it still plans to address. The group of young starters, including No. 1 prospect Nate Pearson (No. 10 prospect in MLB), will provide some of that, but the Blue Jays are still expected to be active with other free-agent starters.

Roark joins a Blue Jays rotation with Chase Anderson, who was acquired via trade earlier this offseason from the Brewers. Veteran Matt Shoemaker has an inside track on a rotation spot and Trent Thornton earned the same with a full 2019 in the Blue Jays' rotation, but plenty of opportunity remains for their internal options and external candidates.

"We're thinking about adding to our pitching, adding to our depth. We'll continue to do that," Atkins said. "There seems to be opportunity at different areas of the market. There's trade opportunities, there's free-agent opportunities."

Keegan Matheson is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @KeeganMatheson.