Now that Marcus Stroman is done pitching on his current contract as a member of the New York Mets, we can look back at how the trade that brought him to the Big Apple came to be.
The Mets, who have suffered injuries to Noah Syndergaard and Michael Wacha, are now desperately thin in their starting rotation.
While this decision will have a major impact on the franchise in 2020 and potentially beyond, now seems like the perfect time to jump in the not-so-way-back machine and revisit the deal that landed Stroman in NYC on July 28th, 2019.
News that the Mets and Toronto Blue Jays had agreed to a blockbuster transaction broke before the league’s annual trade deadline. The move sent the 2019 All-Star and 2017 Gold Glove pitcher to New York in exchange for two of the Mets’ top pitching prospects. At the time, the surprise deal was called a “stroke of genius” by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
It also allowed the Mets to assemble one the best three-headed pitching units in recent memory.
Stroman pitched well during his single season in Flushing. Over the latter part of the 2019 season he recorded a 4-2 record, a 3.77 ERA, and 60 strikeouts in 11 starts. He also was a key part in a second-half surge that saw the Mets finish as the best NL team to miss the postseason.
While Stroman gave fans many reasons to be excited about the future, the move feels lack-luster in hindsight. To be fair, no one could have predicted a worldwide pandemic and historic shortened season. We all expected Stroman to play a full 2020 season alongside fellow aces Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard before he entered free agency at the end of the year.
However, a pandemic did happen. And Stroman’s opt-out means there is a real likelihood that he trade netted the Mets 11 games and a missed postseason. It is hardly materialized into the blockbuster we all expected. This hurts especially when you consider…
Kay has looked impressive in three major league appearances this season, posting a 1.13 ERA over eight innings pitched out of the bullpen. Unsurprisingly, his combination of production and potential have led to serious speculation that he may soon be deserving of a starting role.
Woods-Richardson on the other hand has also impressed during his time in Canada. The 19-year-old prospect has performed well in the minor leagues and “turned heads” during his time in the Jays’ summer camp.
While the Mets still have youngster David Peterson and prospect Matthew Allan in their system, their future does not look as bright as it did before the trade. This reality makes Stroman opting out and potentially resigning elsewhere hurt all the more.
To be clear, I do not begrudge anyone who elects to avoid playing during this unique season and circumstances. There is an active pandemic in our midst and each player has the right to make the best decision for themselves and their families.
I don’t even lament Stroman for waiting until he accrued the necessary service time to become a free agent after the season. Baseball is a business. It’s a smart move.
That being said, it seems as though a trade once considered to be a win by the Mets was clearly a victory for the Blue Jays. The team was able to acquire a major boost to their future staff in exchange for just 11 starts from their former star.
However, there is one scenario where the Mets can still save face. Stroman has been publicly complimentary of his time in the Mets organization. If GM Brodie Van Wagenen and the rest of the front office can use their relationship with Stroman as a way of re-signing him to a longer-term deal in the offseason, it would elevate much of the sting.
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Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of Stroman in blue and orange!