The Blue Jays traded Marcus Stroman to the Mets on Sunday, ending a fruitful tenure in Toronto for the diminutive right-hander. The Jays did have interest in extending Stroman before they decided to part with him, though. General manager Ross Atkins said Monday (via Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet) that he had discussions “multiple times over the last couple of weeks” with Stroman’s agent in regards to a long-term contract. In the end, however, “It felt as though that gap was too big.”
It’s unclear how high Toronto was willing to go to keep Stroman, who remains on track to reach free agency after the 2020 season. The 28-year-old professed a love for Toronto and the country of Canada on several occasions during his Blue Jays career. Back in February, for example, Stroman stated he “embodies the city of Toronto” more than anybody else, adding he hoped to remain a Blue Jay “for a long time.” Stroman claimed at the time the Jays hadn’t offered him an extension, though, and expressed frustration about his lack of long-term security with the franchise.
Five-plus months later, Stroman is now with another organization. And whether New York will broach an extension with Stroman isn’t known, but it stands to reason the team will if it follows through on trading Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler in the near future. Should those two depart, ace Jacob deGrom and the inconsistent Steven Matz would be the Mets’ only current starters under control past 2020. Moreover, the Mets aren’t teeming with pitching prospects who are close to the majors, especially after trading 24-year-old left-hander Anthony Kay as part of the package for Stroman.
Since debuting in 2014, Stroman has made a strong case for a sizable contract by posting a 3.76 ERA/3.61 FIP, a 59.4 percent groundball rate and a 2.52 BB/9 in 789 2/3 innings (135 appearances, 129 starts). However, Strikeouts are one key element somewhat absent from Stroman’s game. He has fanned just over 7.2 batters per nine for his career and a bit under that figure this season. He’s also sporting a sub-10 percent swinging-strike rate in a league where the average mark has climbed all the way to 11.2. Stroman’s lack of high-end bat-missing ability may negatively affect the value of his next deal, though he could still be in line for a lucrative payday sometime before the 2021 season.