Opening day Age: 29
2020 – N/A (Opted out of 2020 season)
Qualifying Offer: DNQ (received qualifying offer in 2021 offseason)
One of the first players to accept a qualifying offer this offseason, Marcus Stroman comes back to the Mets with a chance to cash-in on a good season. Slotting in behind Jacob deGrom and with Noah Syndergaard out until the summer, Stroman has a chance to serve as New York’s number two starter as they attempt to capture the National League East from the Atlanta Braves.
In the 2019 season, Stroman was great – 10-13, 3.22 ERA, 3.72 FIP, 3.99 xFIP, 184.1 innings pitched, good enough for a 3.9 fWAR after being traded from the Blue Jays to the Mets. A quick view at his baseball savant page alludes to what he is – an average fastball (92 miles per hour in 2019), but an elite spin rate (88 percentile on his fastball). Stroman was in the 94th percentile in barrel percentage, alluding to his status as a groundball pitcher.
One factor for the Mets and their pitching free agents – the depth they’ve amassed with years of control. Carlos Carrasco, acquired in the Lindor trade, is under contract for two more seasons with a team option for 2023. Joey Lucchesi doesn’t reach free agency until 2025, David Peterson is locked in until 2026. Recently acquired Jordan Yamamoto has a minor league option and doesn’t reach free agency until 2028.
Between those three and minor league options like Franklyn Kilome and Thomas Szapucki, the Mets will enter 2022 with several options for the backend of their rotation, with MLB top 100 prospect Matt Allan waiting in the wings.
Prediction: Four-year, $80 million with the Houston Astros
With that, I see Stroman testing the market and finding a new home. In a perfect world, Stroman just might be a number three starter on a good team, but good starters are rare, which creates a bump in his market. If someone decides to view him as a number two starter and offer him a rate similar to a decent number two, he could be headed elsewhere. The Astros, a team with their own starting pitcher question marks, could view Stroman as an effective piece to help bridge the next generation of their rotation.