The brief Marcus Stroman era with the New York Mets may come to a close this offseason with the free agent starting pitcher hitting the open market this winter and looking to get paid some big bucks. We all know this was coming. What we didn’t realize when he first joined the club in mid-2019 was how perfectly he would play his free agent card.
Free agency might not be the most important game he has ever played. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most professional baseball players to get their huge contracts, Stroman essentially wrote the playbook on how to handle it.
Mets free agent Marcus Stroman played free agency like a fiddle
It all began in 2020. An injury prior to the season finally beginning put Stroman on the sidelines at the start of the year. Before coming back and pitching for the Mets, Stroman chose to opt-out from playing—a choice players had due to the ongoing pandemic.
Some questioned the timing of Stroman’s opt-out. If he had intentions of not playing in 2020, why wait at all?
The timing worked out in his favor as it pushed his service time ahead far enough for him to actually reach free agency at the end of the season. If he opted out earlier, he would have waited another year to become a baseball nomad.
Stroman’s strumming of the free agent fiddle didn’t stop there. With no 2020 stats to go off of, he chose to accept the one-year qualifying offer from the Mets. This launched his salary up to $18.9 million in 2021.
A wise decision on his behalf, this isn’t the end of Stroman’s triumph over all of the free agent ins-and-outs. By performing at such a high level in 2021, he climbed a few rungs on the ladder of this winter’s top free agent players. And because he accepted the qualifying offer last year, there are no draft pick teams will have to forfeit in order to sign him.
For those keeping score at home, that makes it Stroman 4, the thumb of free agency 0.
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Stroman has set himself up for one sweet payday. Teams have no excuse not to sign him as long as he fits their needs and budget. He was able to hit every target needed in order to make this a successful first trip into free agency. Then comes the toughest challenge of all, living up to the big contract.