Marcus Stroman, the prized acquisition of the New York Mets at the July deadline, has been anything but an ace since the deal.
More than 1,000 miles apart on Saturday, two teams got the chance to find out how a trade they made back in July is working out for them.
Marcus Stroman, the New York Mets right-hander, started against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field and had another shaky game in a Mets uniform. After surrendering a leadoff home run to Cesar Hernandez, the Phillies loaded the bases in the first inning with three singles off Stroman. He was able to escape that jam, but he wouldn’t be as lucky in the fourth inning. The Phillies erupted for four runs, three of them earned, chasing Stroman from the game in what became a 5-0 Phillies victory.
Stroman lasted just four innings, giving up 10 hits for the first time since August 2018 and four earned runs. He now has a 5.05 ERA in seven games with the Mets and has lost his last three outings.
When the Mets made the bold move of trading for Stroman days before the July 31 deadline, they were a floundering club five games under .500 and barely hanging in the playoff chase. Stroman looked like a player who could help turn the season around; despite a 6-11 record with the Toronto Blue Jays, Stroman had a 2.96 ERA in Toronto, good for fifth in the American League.
The deal, however, hasn’t provided dividends for the Mets. While they are 22-13 since making the trade, Stroman hasn’t been the reason. His frustrations were evident after the game on Saturday.
“Just need to be better, to be honest with you, Nobody puts more pressure on me than myself, so I’m extremely frustrated and kind of angered,” he said in the Mets clubhouse.
The Mets, coming off a dramatic victory against the Phillies on Friday night that ended with a bases-loaded walk to Pete Alonso in the bottom of the ninth, desperately need their key deadline acquisition to start pitching better. Currently four games back of the Chicago Cubs for the final NL Wild Card spot, their next eight games are against teams with a winning record. After closing the series with Philadelphia on Sunday, they play four games against the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks, 11-1 in their last 13 games, before a series against the NL-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
Stroman, though, insists he can turn things around. “I’ve been through plenty of rough patches in my career and I feel like I’m always able to come out the other side,” he said. “At the end of the day, one bad outing is not going to discourage me. So I look forward to the adversity and getting through this.”
At the same time, Stroman was getting hit against the Phillies, one of the players the Mets traded to Toronto was making his Major League debut. Left-hander Anthony Kay took the mound for the Blue Jays against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, going 5.2 innings while giving up two earned runs and striking out eight. For all the clamoring of the Blue Jays fanbase that the front office didn’t get enough for their franchise pitcher, Kay’s play since the trade is quietly those complaints. The 24-year-old had a 2.50 ERA in seven starts with Triple-A Buffalo after the trade, looking every bit like the top prospect the Blue Jays needed to bolster their pitching staff.
He even outperformed Stroman on Saturday, and if Stroman doesn’t start to pitch better with the Mets, the trade that appeared so one-sided back in July will begin to look a lot different to fans of both teams.