While the big news of the day came out of Detroit, across the border the Blue Jays made a couple of signings that will pay off in the 2012 season. The Blue Jays re-signed starting pitcher Brandon Morrow to a three year contract with a club option for a fourth. They then finished the day by signing former Cincinnati Reds closer Francisco Cordero to a one year contract.
Morrow's contract is worth $20 million dollars with Morrow making $4 million in year one followed by $8 million in the next two seasons. The club option is worth $10 million with a buy out option of $1 million. This locks up Morrow for his remaining arbitration years as well as his first year of free agency. It also keeps the top of the rotation set for the next few seasons with Morrow joining Ricky Romero as the Jays young one two punch. Morrow was very thankful is his press conference making sure to recognize Alex Anthopolous and his team for the work they did to not only bring him into Toronto but to sign him long term. Morrow seems determined to succeed in a Toronto market that has had trouble drawing fans over the last few seasons. Morrow finished 2011 with an 11-11 record with a 4.72 ERA. Not great numbers but it must be remembered that this was only his second full season as a starter. Morrow has shown the ability to strike guys out with the best pitchers in the league. However it will now be on Morrow to live up to the big contract as well as the pressure that is put on him to live up to his ace potential. Something that critics and fans will be quick to remind him of. All in all this looks to be a solid deal for the Blue Jays who continue to look to build from within.
The other deal of the day was the signing of relief pitcher Francisco Cordero. The one year deal is worth $4.5 million. Coming into the offseason it was known that the Blue Jays were tied for the AL lead in blown saves. The bullpen was an issue for concern. But the moves Anthopolous has made has brought a young closer in Sergio Santos as well as veterans Jason Frasor and Darren Oliver into the fold. Cordero will become the set up man to Santos and will create a late inning duo to rival anyone in the AL. It also gives the Jays a safety net if Santos struggles. Combine these signings with the returning Casey Janssen and Carlos Villanueva and the once weak bullpen is looking like it is a whole lot stronger.
The 2012 season will see the young Blue Jays players grow a little bit more. And with their ability to score in bunches, the improved bullpen could be the last piece of the puzzle that will push the Blue Jays back into the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
**info via bluejays.com**