It was widely assumed that the Blue Jays were going to trade Marcus Stroman before the deadline, and many rumors suggested that he could eventually wind up in New York. Exactly where in the Big Apple Stroman landed, however, ended up being the surprise, as it was the Mets (they of the 55-60 record and the six-game deficit in the NL wild card standings) who landed the right-hander, rather than the AL-leading Yankees. The Mets acquired Stroman from the Jays for Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson, two of the Amazins’ top pitching prospects.
Today’s stunner of a deal has already led to quite a bit of reaction and speculation about what moves could come next. The highlights…
- The Mets have “hijacked the [pitching] market” with the trade, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan tweets. The Mets’ plan is to keep Stroman, and “the likelihood is strong they deal at least one of” Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler. Reports from earlier this week suggested that New York could try to sign Wheeler, a pending free agent, to a contract extension, though Passan feels a long-term deal with Wheeler is “increasingly unlikely.”
- The Padres have been heavily linked to Syndergaard since the offseason, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that San Diego is “not optimistic” about landing the righty, since the Mets’ trade demands for Syndergaard are so high. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweeted earlier today that Manuel Margot had been discussed as part of the Mets/Padres talks.
- Seth Lugo is another Mets pitcher “gaining late interest” in trade talks, the New York Daily News’ Deesha Thosar reports (Twitter link). Lugo has been the Amazins’ best reliever this season, posting a 2.77 ERA, 11.94 K/9, and 5.15 K/BB rate over 52 innings. Lugo is under control through the 2022 season, so he’d cost a hefty price in a trade, and one wonders if the Mets would even consider moving such a relatively inexpensive long-term asset since they’re planning to contend next year. (Plus, Lugo becomes even more valuable to the pen if the Mets were to deal Edwin Diaz.)
- Chris Hemsw….er, that is, Syndergaard himself poked fun at the trade speculation in a tweet of his own.
- Several of The Athletic’s baseball writers (subscription required) joined forces for a roundtable discussion about the Stroman trade, with Jayson Stark perhaps summing things up with this comment that “Nobody can confuse an entire industry like the Mets.” Multiple writers pointed out that the Mets’ poor infield defense doesn’t suit Stroman’s grounder-heavy attack. If Stroman is the first step to flipping Syndergaard, it’s still an odd tactic for a team in win-now mode — as Tim Britton puts it, “New York is replacing [Syndergaard] in 2020 with someone [Stroman] older, with less team control, and whose track record is not quite as good.” From the Blue Jays’ perspective, Kaitlyn McGrath notes that adding Kay and Woods Richardson meets Toronto’s desire for pitching depth, given the relative lack of young arms in the system.
- Today’s deal ends Stroman’s often-controversial tenure with the Jays, as the Toronto Star’s Gregor Chisholm chronicles the multiple instances when the “fractured relationship” between Stroman and the Jays become public. While a trade may have always been inevitable given the Blue Jays’ rebuild, “bad blood on both sides is one reason why a team desperate for pitching opted to trade one of its most talented arms,” Chisholm writes.
- Stroman (via his Twitter account) did leave with grateful words for fans in Toronto and Canada, while also expressing excitement at returning to play for his hometown team.