Initial Thoughts On the Stroman Trade
A Marcus Stroman trade has been looming over the Toronto Blue Jays season since before it even started. I’ve always been against it. Since the Jays don't care what I think, the trade happened.
To me, Stroman could always be a contributor to the post-rebuild Blue Jays. Yeah, maybe he doesn’t fit the exact timeline of the franchise but neither did Justin Verlander when he helped the Houston Astros win a World Series.
That's not the best comparison as Stroman isn’t an ace the same way Verlander is but the idea is the same.
No one knows how long this rebuild is going to last. What we do know is: there’s going to be a lot of bad baseball played in Toronto and even more empty seats in the Rogers Centre. There hasn't been a regular dose of excitement surrounding this team outside of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. With Stroman, the team was at least interesting every fifth game.
Stroman's only 28 years old and, although that’s not considered young in sports, he’s still got a chance to be an impact player for years to come. If you follow Stro on Instagram, you’ve gotten a glimpse at how hard he works off the field. As a result, he’s steadily improved year after year. Why couldn’t this continue into his early to mid-thirties?
I always thought that the return for Stroman, especially the way he’s performed this year, would fetch the Jays some sort of blue-chip piece. The reality wasn’t exactly that.
In return for the teams best asset, the Jays got two pitching prospects. There’s 18-year-old Simeon Woods Richardson and 24-year-old Anthony Kay. Neither are on the MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects. Not the greatest package.
The better of the two is Woods Richardson. Right now, he’s pitching in A ball and has shown good command striking out 97 batters in 78.1 innings pitched. His ERA is 4.25 and has a 3-8 record in 20 starts. There’s an upside, but as of right now it doesn’t look like anything special.
The older Kay is pitching in AA after a rough couple of months in AAA ball earlier this season. He’s been a stud since being sent back down posting a 1.49 ERA, 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings and only 5.2 hits per nine. It will be interesting to see if he can bring that success back into AAA.
The problem with analyzing trades like this is you never really know (you may have a good idea) which team won until a few years down the road. If either one of these guys (more likely Woods Richardson) becomes an ace, then the Jays win. If both guys turn into really good rotation guys, the Jays probably win. But, if one or both of these guys doesn't pan out, the Jays look bad.
Because of that, I don’t want to judge the trade too strongly. For now, I think it’s yet another loss for the Jays. You’re not going to get a guy who embodies the city as much as Stroman did in his time here. On top of that, at his peak, Stroman has the potential to be a Cy-Young candidate. Maybe that never happens, but he’s fairly close. Not a lot of players ever become that good. Why not keep the good stuff you already have instead of hoping to get more?