Feb 19, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA;Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (54) fields a ball as the Blue Jays workout at the Bobby Mattick Training Center.Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Stroman's Service Time Will Not Dictate Place On Team


A lot of interesting comments came out of today’s media scrum with Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos. While we’ve already heard about about the fact that the Blue Jays have two rotation spots up for grabs due to J.A. Happ’s struggles, there was another interesting development out of that comment.

Where does that leave Blue Jays prospect Marcus Stroman in the mix?

Thanks to Gregor Chisholm’s notes from today’s scrum, we’ve learned that Marcus Stroman is certainly in the mix for one of those rotation spots and the Blue Jays are not going to allow service time to dictate whether or not he makes the team.

“No doubt about it, the best team. Where it becomes a little more interesting, if you have multiple players, if it’s close and someone has options and someone’s out of options, you keep the depth. If it’s not close then you take the best players.” (h/t Gregor Chisholm)

That would seem to indicate that the Blue Jays are prepared to use Stroman if he continue to pitch well and he earns that shot, regardless of service time concerns. As far as Stroman is concerned, Anthopolous remains very high on the team’s number two prospect:

“The stuff that comes out of his arm is great. I know we’ve talked about the Sonny Gray comparisons and I think they’re fair. I think Marcus is ready to be up here, stuff-wise I mean can he work on his changeup? Probably a little bit more, sure, but for the most part he’s ready to be up here. (h/t Gregor Chisholm))

In his second camp with the team, Stroman has looked good at times. While he has given up two earned runs over two innings of work thus far, he’s also walked just a single batter and struck out three. This is building on an impressive run at both the Arizona Fall League (1-2, 3.09 ERA, 13/3 K/BB) and at Double-A New Hampshire in 2013 (9-5, 3.30, 129/27 K/BB).

Fans will be clambering for Stroman to arrive this year, especially after a winter with little movement. It will also be a win for a farm system that has not managed to produce much in the name of legitimate prospects that have helped the Blue Jays in recent years.

That said, the team must be confident that Stroman is the answer for this year’s team before making the decision. Rushing him a year too early doesn’t help anyone. But if he is the guy, there is no reason to hold him out for the sake of protecting service time considerations would be equally idiotic.

If Marcus Stroman is the best option when camp breaks, he should be coming north with the team at the end of the month.

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  • Adam Sproule

    How many times have we rushed our pitching prospects? Do we have a discount card for tommy john surgeries? Leave him in the minors for now. Let him build up arm strength.

    • Andrew van Laar

      I agree about leaving him the minors not because of injury concern as he is already an ‘older’ prospect (having played college) but because he needs some exposure at the next level of competition. When July comes in and he is holding his own in AAA, call him up! Just season him a little against the best players in the minor leauges.

      • Jason Kerr

        Well since they were willing to lose with Happ in the rotation (since Happ seems to be the guy being hit on the most) … Might as well get big league experience in the big leagues and let him lose a few games.

        I’d prefer to give him one more year in AAA a little more time to develop.

    • SM

      I agree with you there BUT the need is dire man! I don’t want to see Happ as the 4th or 5th for that matter

      • Andrew van Laar

        Oh I am totally on the same page as you SM. I just mean say at the end of spring he is pitching along the same level of a Hutchinson, Drabek, Rogers, Redman etc. I would rather see him in the minors for a bit then call him up. No use buring a year of control on him if you could have gotten the same returns from another guy. If he is lights out however and far and above anyone else, have him go north with the team.

  • Justin Jay

    This isn’t a surprise to me. Win now teams with talented players will sacrifice service time to WIN. So this move makes sense. We’re talking about Arb and FA periods starting earlier and so what? Some people make it sound like the Jays have no intention on retaining their talent and paying their players. If Stroman is GOOD, they’re going to want to keep him!

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      #FirstWorldProblems

  • Adam Sproule

    It would have been so nice to pick up a little something in the off season to avoid this discussion however I agree if he’s lights out call him up in a month.

  • Adam Sproule

    Oh and one more thing he has a bad ass look to him. Haven’t had a pitcher that intimidating since Dave Stieb’s moustache. Haha