If the Toronto Blue Jays are about to part ways with Marcus Stroman, the return better be good, because he has been
Trading Marcus Stroman would be a huge missed opportunity for the Toronto Blue Jays. What would you say if I told you there have been three teams worse than the Blue Jays (35-59 or .372) this season? The Royals, Tigers, and Orioles all currently sit lower in the standings. The Mariners started 2019 11-2, but since have gone 28-56 in their last 84 games (.333), so we’ll throw them in there, too. That makes four teams worse than the Blue Jays this year. It’s currently a five-team race for the two AL Wild-Card standings with the Rangers being the furthest back at three games. Three games are not insurmountable by any means, those very same Texas Rangers know that quite well. (I will shoehorn in-jokes about the Rangers any chance I get.) What I am saying is that parity does not exist in Major League baseball.
The Blue Jays have a *few* glaring holes, but I think they’re closer to contending for a wild card spot than this season would lead you to believe. But then again, I am an optimist. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Danny Jansen have all shown that they belong. Bo Bichette is hitting .347/423/.554 with a 155 wRC+ in AAA (121 AB) since returning from a broken wrist. Ryan Borucki is due back from injury soon and the Blue Jays have a lot of interesting arms in the minor leagues. The core of the future is taking shape, and yes the potential return for Stroman would sure add to that, but would it be the right move?
It’s hard to find starting pitchers who you can pencil in for at least 180 innings every year and even fewer that are as good as Stroman. What are the odds two or three years from now the Blue Jays will be in the market for an SP with Stroman’s skill set? I’d say their pretty high. Say what you want about his personality, but the man can flat out pitch. In terms of starting pitchers, he ranks 32nd in fWar (13.7) since entering the league back in 2014. Besides that, it’s impressive what he’s been able to do against the American League East.
Earlier this season the Blue Jays gave Randal Grichuk a five year, $52 million dollar extension. Clearly, they’re not afraid to spend, so why not Stroman? He’s 28 and doesn’t exactly have a lot of miles on his arm. Aside from his struggles last season and the freak injury he suffered in 2015 that involved a sprinkler head, he has been a consistent contributor. Stroman has been very open and honest about his status with the team. Earlier this year he came out and said that an offer had not even been tabled. Again at this year’s all-star break saying, “They haven’t had me in their plans for the future, and I’ve come to terms with it.”
I spoke on his personality earlier and I’d like to revisit that. We know what he’s like on social media and it’s no question that he rubs some the wrong way, but is that reason to trade him? I don’t think so. It still stands that this fan base is very split on their feelings towards him. It’s really interesting to me because Stroman genuinely seems to like playing here. I’m an avid Toronto sports fan and I do relate a lot of things to hockey, so forgive me. Over my years of being a Leafs fan, I’ve seen similar instances with Phil Kessel and Jake Gardiner. It’s actually impressive how divided the fan base was on those players. But as the old saying goes, winning does solve a lot of problems in sports and the Jays and Leafs haven’t done much winning lately.
I posted this tweet after his start against the Yankees and Stroman was the first to like the tweet. I thought that was quite cool, but 701 likes later and I wish he didn’t. The replies are… interesting.
If that was Marcus Stroman’s last start as a #BlueJay he’ll undoubtedly go down as a top 10 SP in franchise history… possibly top 5?
46-44, 3.81 ERA, 775.2 IP, 624 Ks, 1.28 WHIP. Plus the shimmy shimmy pic.twitter.com/iOpnViSwEU
— Stephen Brown (@DTSB_98) July 14, 2019
Maybe my top 10 comment wasn’t the *most* accurate. But I don’t think I’m as far off as some so respectfully suggested.
*Toronto Blue Jays all-time SP leaders sorted by fWar
I know some players that were a part of the runs the team made in the 80s and later their back to back titles are beloved. But at the same time, 2015 was the definition of the stars aligning. I get goosebumps even now reading Stroman’s tweet that he’d be back.
The drama, stats and whatever happens aside, to me anyway, Stroman will always be a Blue Jay. I’ll always wear my number six jersey with pride. I think we can all agree we’d miss the energy he brings in big moments. Happy trails everyone.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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