For the first time in a while, the Toronto Blue Jays may end up being sellers, or partial sellers at the trade deadline. The rumour mill will be flowing over the next few weeks as we get closer to the July 31st trade deadline. It does seem the rumour of the Chicago Cubs and Marcus Stroman is one that could keep popping up. However, the Blue Jays would be crazy to trade Stroman, especially if they want to compete again as soon as next season. Why? Because it would signal a full rebuild.
In my mind, a trade of Marcus Stroman would signal a full rebuild, even more so than trading Josh Donaldson. Trading Josh Donaldson actually makes more sense as a move for a partial rebuild if the return is right.
The Blue Jays have Marcus Stroman under team control until the end of 2021, the year when he will become a free agent. The Blue Jays also have Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna under control until the end of 2021. That trio of pitchers is who you build around. The reason why moving Stroman signals a full rebuild is quite simple.
You ask yourself the series of questions such as:
- What would you get back?
It would be interesting to see what the Blue Jays could get back for Marcus Stroman. However, if the front office wants to compete as soon as next year, are you getting major league talent back? There’s no way a contending team would be moving pieces from their big league roster for Stroman. It would likely be young, controllable talent that could be ready in 3-4 years time.
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That doesn’t match up with the organizations views on the current roster and the state of the organization beyond the major league roster. The Blue Jays need to get younger and more athletic. That would mean nearly major league ready talent or young current major league talent. Most competing teams have those pieces at the major league level already, or won’t move them as they will be up as soon as next season, potentially. If the Blue Jays traded Stroman, they’d certainly be offered solid prospects, but prospects that won’t be ready for 3-4 years, which signals a full tear down.
- Isn’t there a lack of quality starting pitching depth in the organization?
Yes. There certainly is at this point. That is one thing that the Blue Jays were concerned about in 2017 if a starter went down. Starters went down and the lack of quality, young starting pitching depth hurt the Blue Jays. Instead, it was ineffective, older starters who haven’t experienced much major league success in their careers.
If you move Stroman, that just opens up another hole for future starting rotations. Instead of hoping just 1-2 of the current young starters are effective at the major league level, it’s 2-3 you need to hit on. Currently the Blue Jays top ranked pitching prospects are Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene, T.J. Zeuch, Jon Harris, and Justin Maese. Each of these arms have their own issues and don’t seem like a trip to the majors is in store for at least a few more seasons.
That is why you need to keep Stroman. Stroman and Sanchez anchor your rotation beyond 2018. You may be able to throw Joe Biagini in there as well, along with a free agent signing or two. That way, the Blue Jays could afford to compete with a solid 3 in Stroman, Sanchez, and Biagini, while waiting for their arms to develop. If you remove Stroman, there will be more ineffective stop gap arms in the rotation for the next few seasons like some of the names you saw in the Blue Jays rotation this season.
- How good could the front of the rotation be in a few seasons?
This question ties into the last one. Your rotation can be anchored by two young aces in Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez until the end of 2021. One hopes Joe Biagini can be a solid mid rotation arm. That would be a very solid, young, and good top 3 combined with a free agent signing or two. Perhaps a prospect figures it out and gets hot next season and we see a rotation of Stroman, Sanchez, Biagini, Reid-Foley, and pitcher X in 2019. You also have Roberto Osuna in the bullpen to lock down saves should he remain a closer.
The Blue Jays success in 2016 was tied directly to their rotation. Trading Stroman would mean the rotation will be minus a proven, established arm for the next few years until a new arm is ready in the farm. Moving Stroman likely would remove the rotation as something the Blue Jays will be able to bank on being good until 2021.
If you anchor your rotation of Stroman and Sanchez, you allow the front office to continue to stockpile young position player talent, something the Blue Jays do need outside of Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerrero Jr., and Richard Urena.
Trading Marcus Stroman would be a mistake. The Blue Jays have him under team control until the end of the 2021 season, just like Aaron Sanchez. The Blue Jays rotation could be quite good until then, with those two at the top, which would accelerate a partial rebuild or retool. Trading Marcus Stroman would signal a full rebuild, something that would hurt the Blue Jays until beyond the 2021 season.