The rebuilding Toronto Blue Jays have parted ways with starting pitcher Marcus Stroman, dealing their staff ace to the New York Mets on Sunday.
Marcus Stroman is going home to New York.
That Stroman would be dealt before Wednesday’s trade deadline is no surprise. With the Blue Jays front office showing no willingness to sign him to a long-term deal, Stroman has been the subject of multiple trade rumors all season. What is surprising is the destination. The New York Mets, 11.5 games out of the NL East lead, were expected to be sellers at the deadline, and may still trade starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard before Wednesday.
Joining the Mets is sort of a homecoming for the 28-year-old Stroman. He’s a native of Medford on Long Island, less than 50 miles from Citi Field. He has a year of team control left on his contract before becoming eligible for free agency after next season.
He’s leaving the only team he’s ever known. Stroman made his Major League debut in 2014 after being a first-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2012. After a promising rookie season, Stroman’s sophomore year in 2015 was prematurely cut short when he tore his ACL in Spring Training.
Making a miraculous return to the Blue Jays by September, he went 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA the rest of the season before making three starts in the postseason as the Blue Jays fell to the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. That performance endeared him to Blue Jays fans, and he’s remained an integral part of the club ever since.
Stroman is 47-45 in 129 starts over six seasons with the Blue Jays. He’s currently enjoying the best year of his career in 2019, ranking third in the American League in ERA despite being just 6-11. In nine of those 11 losses, the Blue Jays have failed to score more than two runs. He has a 2.30 ERA in his last seven starts, seventh in the league in that span, while walking just seven and striking out 36 in 43 innings. He made the All-Star Game for the first time earlier this month.
His last start came on Wednesday against the Cleveland Indians, when Stroman gave up one run in seven strong innings as the Blue Jays were shut out 4-0. Coming off the field for what proved to be the last time in a Blue Jays uniform at Rogers Centre, he received a loud ovation from the fans that have grown to adore him. He, in turn, showed his appreciation for what the team and city have meant to his career.
“I said this is my house, because it is,” Stroman said on Wednesday.
“I realized that it could possibly be my last start, so definitely wanted to just show the crowd some love. Because the last six, seven years that I’ve been a Blue Jay it’s been unbelievable.”
Stroman’s relationship with the fans, however, wasn’t replicated in his feelings toward the Blue Jays front office. He’s openly questioned general manager Ross Atkins’ commitment to keeping him in Toronto, and when a report surfaced that the club wanted to sign him to a long-term deal on Thursday, Stroman replied “That’s news to me. LOL.”
As for what the Blue Jays will be receiving from the Mets, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the deal involves pitching prospects. The Mets have four pitchers ranked in their top-10 prospects, led by left-hander Anthony Kay. The 24-year-old Kay, a first-round pick in 2016, is currently playing for the Mets triple-A team in Syracuse. Simeon Woods Richardson, an 18-year-old with a strong arm who plays for Single-A Columbia, is another candidate to be headed to Toronto.