With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Toronto Blue Jays front office and pitching ace Marcus Stroman don’t appear to be on the same page.
With the trade deadline just five days away, the Toronto Blue Jays and their staff ace are telling two different stories about his future.
Marcus Stroman is one of the most coveted trade targets this year, with the chances that the Blue Jays would move him looking more like a certainty as the deadline approaches. But on Thursday, those rumors were upended with a report that the club was now telling other teams that they may not trade Stroman after all and instead sign him to an extension.
That report, however, comes as a surprise to Stroman, who responded to it with a Twitter post on Friday. “That’s news to me. Lol,” he wrote.
Stroman felt much the same way after his last start on Wednesday. In possibly his last game at the Rogers Centre in a Blue Jays uniform, Stroman gave up just one earned run in seven innings against the Cleveland Indians, coming off the field to a loud ovation after getting his last out. In the clubhouse after the game, Stroman reiterated he’s not letting the trade talk bother him but that the Blue Jays front office isn’t showing any commitment to him.
“There’s been no willingness from the front office to sign me, so I’ve just kind of come to terms with it,” he said. “I’m ready to dominate, wherever that may be.”
General Manager Ross Atkins may be putting out the possibility of an extension in an attempt to increase Stroman’s value, and thus the potential return in a trade, but the relationship between the two sides is clearly broken. The rebuilding Blue Jays, willing to part with any veteran in exchange for prospects to compliment young stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio, would be well-served parting ways with Stroman now and replenishing their thin pitching.
For Stroman, too, a trade out of Toronto would be most welcome. The 28-year-old has the third-lowest ERA in the American League this season at 2.96 but is just 6-11. In nine of those 11 losses, the Blue Jays have failed to score more than two runs. Again on Wednesday, despite his strong start, the club managed just one hit off Indians’ starter Shane Bieber and were shutout 4-0.
Such is Stroman’s dedication to the Blue Jays and Toronto that he has the city’s skyline tattooed on his body. He’s given the Blue Jays everything they could have asked for in his six-year career, from coming back from a torn ACL in 2015 to patiently going through losing seasons the past three years. His patience with Atkins and the front office, however, is running out, and with the Blue Jays sure to continue the rebuild for the next few years, a break in the relationship is beneficial for both sides.
The Blue Jays have the next five days to make it happen.