Today in Blue Jays history – Pitcher Dave Stieb signs 11-year contract extension

Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Shushkewich
1 month ago
On this day 39 years ago, the Toronto Blue Jays were able to extend right-hander Dave Stieb to an 11-year contract extension, locking down one of the organization’s top arms during his prime years at 27 years old just before the 1985 campaign.
The contract guaranteed Stieb $12.6 million while incentives and deferred payments could push the deal to $26 million, with the 11 years being the longest contract in MLB history at the time. At the surface, it appeared to be a long-term contract but under the hood, it was a three-year deal with eight, single-year club options for the Blue Jays that could see Stieb donning a Jays uniform until he was 38 years old.
Before signing the extension, Stieb had over 184 starts with the Blue Jays and had amassed a 3.30 ERA and a 129 ERA+ through 1389 innings. He had four All-Star appearances on his resume and 76 complete games under his belt, producing a 1.207 WHIP and quickly establishing himself as a fan favourite amongst the Toronto faithful. A fifth-round pick of the 1978 MLB Draft out of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Stieb had 32+ starts in four of the six seasons with the Jays before the 11-year extension.

Blue Jays history – Dave Stieb signs mega-contract extension

The extension came a few years after a rocky moment between club and player, as Stieb lost his arbitration case in 1982 and demanded a trade shortly after, with the club eventually locking down the starter on a six-year deal a year later (which was later replaced with the long-term contract extension).
Overall, Stieb spent over 15 seasons with the Blue Jays spanning from 1979 until 1992, as well as a short stint in 1998 at the ripe age of 40 years old.
Shoulder and back injuries limited him in 1991 and 1992, with the San Ana, California product winning a World Series with the club in the latter year but was later released that offseason. A brief stint with the Chicago White Sox in 1993 ended with Stieb retiring due to recurring back injuries, only to see him come out of retirement five years later with the Jays after beginning the year as a spring training coach turned into a pitching opportunity for the veteran.
Following his final retirement, Stieb finished his Blue Jays career with a 3.42 ERA through 2873 innings with over 408 starts on record. He pitched 103 complete games, 30 of which were shutouts while collecting 1658 strikeouts en route to a 3.82 FIP and a 123 ERA+. He also locked down seven All-Star honours and led the A.L. in ERA in 1985 (2.48).
An inaugural member of the Level of Excellence alongside George Bell, Stieb leads numerous Blue Jays franchise pitching records including strikeouts, innings pitched, games started, complete games, shutouts, bWAR (56.9), wins (175), and batters faced (11965), cementing himself as one of the top arms in franchise history.

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