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.