Stroman, 23, until recently was considered a candidate to take over the vacancy in the Jays’ starting rotation after Dustin McGowan was moved to the bullpen following his last start. However GM Alex Anthopoulos made a trip to Buffalo yesterday to watch Liam Hendriks pitch for the Bisons and had good things to say about the right-hander while adding he was “already stretched out” (h/t Mike Harrington, Buffalo News).
It seems, if there was actually in fact a plan for Stroman, was to use him temporarily in the bullpen before optioning him back to Buffalo to stretch out again. However in order to avoid burning an option year, from my understanding of Major League Baseball’s roster rules, he will need to be called up again in 19 days or less. It’s not a great plan, and it’s not how I would recommend the club to handle the situation, but putting it all together I assume Stroman makes another three starts in Buffalo before he is called up again.
I’m trying to enjoy my long weekend but this was a topic I’ve wanted to write about more in-depth since Stroman was called up. In my opinion he was called up too early and the Blue Jays have received little to no value while risking the loss of an extremely valuable option year, which could be critical down the road.
I’ve been a Stroman fan for awhile now but also have a slighted jaded approach that for the most part. Prospects will break your heart. I think he has the stuff and psyche to become a big league starting pitcher however there’s a chance that he doesn’t stick as a starter, for whatever reason, and is eventually converted to the bullpen on a more full-time basis.
I’m opening a whole different can of worms with the previous paragraph but the reason I bring it up is because his option years could end up becoming extremely valuable down the road, especially if it does in fact take Stroman a couple of stints in the Show to figure out how to get hitters out, or worst case he becomes a relief pitcher.
There’s the issue that pitchers, in at least some cases, are depreciating asset (h/t Ben Badler, Baseball America) but let’s assume another turn at Triple-A would have given hitters at least the chance to adjust further to Stroman. That would have him forced him to adjust back and might have given a bit better representation compared to what he showed during a dominating first month at Triple-A.
I’m still not entirely sure what to think of the way Stroman has been handled. At first, I didn’t like that he was called up to be a relief pitcher. However, especially after he struggled a bit, I started to come around to the fact it wasn’t the worse way to break him in. And I understood the move by the club – if they are planning to compete in 2014, breaking him in as reliever isn’t the worst course of action as relying on a rookie starter to keep you in games is a lot to ask for.
Now though, I can’t help but thing that the move to call him up was shortsighted. At the time the bullpen was struggling and it seems he was added to rectify the lack of stability at the back end. However if he would have remained in Triple-A, he would have been “stretched out” enough to take over Dustin McGowan’s place in the rotation. You could argue that Henriks is the superior choice but likely in both the short and long term, the Jays are better off going with Stroman in the rotation. The Blue Jays had to know they wouldn’t be getting much more out of McGowan and I’m surprised they didn’t keep Stroman in line for the first call up, knowing that it was only a matter of time until they would need another starter.
This could simply be a ploy to avoid service time issues that were caused by bringing Stroman up too early but if he’s called up in 19 days or less and stays with the team for the rest of the year, he would likely still end up a Super Two. The Jays will likely gain an extra year of control through arbitration because of the delay but it will still cost them to retain his services if he performs like many people expect.