NY Mets: 10 best free agents for Steve Cohen to buy this winter
3) Marcus Stroman
The Mets traded for Marcus Stroman at the deadline in 2019 to try and make a playoff push, and also to have him in the middle of their rotation in 2020. Stroman was mainly acquired to replace Zack Wheeler who departed for Philadelphia last offseason. Unfortunately for the Mets, this trade was a disaster. They didn’t make the playoffs in 2019, Stroman didn’t even pitch in 2020, and Wheeler was one of the better pitchers in the National League this season.
Even with all of this being said, the Mets need to bring Stroman back to Queens if they miss out on Trevor Bauer. The rotation is such a mess right now, as the only solidified members of the rotation are Jacob deGrom and David Peterson. Noah Syndergaard is expected back at some point, but nobody truly knows how a pitcher will recover from Tommy John Surgery. Stroman will be the second or third starter in the rotation that the Mets desperately need.
In his career, Stroman is 51-47 with a 3.76 ERA in 140 career starts. Stroman had his best season in 2019 in which he made the American League All-Star Team and went 10-13 with a 3.22 ERA in 32 starts splitting time between the Blue Jays and Mets. With the Mets, his production fell off but he was still effective.
Stroman is a ground ball pitcher, and the Mets don’t have great defenders in their infield other than Andres Gimenez. This can be an issue, but since the Mets have pretty much no other options, they cannot be picky. Stroman is easily the second-best starting pitcher in this years’ free agency class, and with Steve Cohen taking over, they should sign at least one of the better pitchers available.
As for the kind of contract he will get, that remains to be seen. The Mets can offer him the qualifying offer worth $18.9 million dollars. Since Stroman is coming off of an injury, there is a chance teams won’t want to commit long term. So, if that’s the case, it’s in Stroman’s best interest to sign the qualifying offer and try again in free agency next season after he hopefully stays healthy and pitches well in 2021.
I honestly hope this happens. I don’t love the idea of committing to any pitcher who isn’t a proven ace for a long time past the age 30 season. Stroman is 29 right now and might get a long-term offer.
The aforementioned Zack Wheeler got 5-years $118 million dollars from the Phillies. He’s older than Stroman, has had Tommy John Surgery, has never made an all-star team, and has no playoff experience. Stroman has not had Tommy John, he made an all-star team when last seen in 2019, and he has made five playoff starts with Toronto. Two of those five starts were in elimination games, and Stroman won them both. He loves the spotlight and has always pitched well in big games. If they can’t get Bauer, the Mets really need Stroman badly.