Marcus Stroman decided to opt-out of the 2020 season after he got enough service time to become a free agent which angered many Mets fans. Had Stroman pitched for the Mets it is very possible they would’ve been a playoff team. But now, to the delight of many Mets fans including myself, Stroman accepted the qualifying offer worth $18.9 million dollars for one year. Having Stroman back for one year is a big win for this team.
Stroman will be motivated for a big free agent contract next offseason, so theoretically he should pitch very well this season. And if the Mets get Bauer, they will not have to re-sign Stroman to a big deal he is not going to be worth. I believe signing Bauer long term is a better move than signing Stroman long term.
When last seen on a baseball field in 2019, Stroman went 10-13 with a 3.22 ERA pitching for the Blue Jays and the Mets and he made the American League All-Star Team for the first time. I believe in a perfect world Stroman is a low-end second starter, ideally a third starter which is exactly what he would be if they sign Bauer. When Syndergaard is healthy, he’d be the fourth starter which is great value, I believe he is better than that.
The biggest flaws with Stroman in the past have been his health and his lack of consistency. Stroman missed significant time in 2015 and in 2018 with injuries. Stroman has also been up and down with his production. He pitched well in 2015 in his limited action, poorly in 2016, better in 2017, poorly in 2018, and then well again in 2019. Hopefully, this trend does not continue for this season.
Stroman is known to be a groundball pitcher, which in the past would not be a good fit with the Mets. However, with the new regime in place, they have emphasized making this team better defensively. And, if the Mets can land someone like Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor, he would have an elite glove in the infield. Right now, the Mets have Jeff McNeil playing his real position and Andres Gimenez who is a very good defender in their infield. The corners are a little weaker with Pete Alonso at first and J.D. Davis at third but that’s not the end of the world.
Stroman in his career is 51-47 with a 3.76 ERA. If he can produce numbers close to these or hopefully slightly better as the Mets’ third starter, I believe they would be very satisfied with that result.
What Stroman brings that a lot of this team does not is playoff experience. Stroman has starter two winner take all games and won them both, pitching six innings of two-run ball in Game Five of the ALDS in 2015, and six innings of two-run ball in the Wild Card Game in 2016. Stroman pitches with a lot of heart and seems like a great locker room guy. I am very happy he is back and expect him to pitch well in 2021.