After a fantastic individual season for Marcus Stroman, it might be time for the front office to engage him and his agent in extension talks.
In a year where most of the roster has struggled, Marcus Stroman has been one of the bright spots in a disappointing campaign. The Duke university product is 11-8 with a 3.08 ERA through 30 starts. He’s thrown 184.1 innings, recorded 155 strikeouts, and has a WHIP of 1.31.
As I said my an article I wrote on Friday, Stroman’s talent has slipped under the radar in some ways. I’ll admit that I was among those that expected him to be a strong 4th starter in this rotation, behind veterans Marco Estrada, and J.A. Happ, and a dominant Aaron Sanchez, who lead the American League in ERA in 2016. Of course, we all know how that worked out.
Happ has been very good, but missed significant time on the disabled list. Estrada has had an up and down season, but has looked much better of late, and Sanchez only made eight starts. It’s been Stroman who has been the constant for John Gibbons‘ rotation, routinely giving the team a chance to win and providing valuable innings.
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There shouldn’t be any doubters anymore about his place in the game and with the Blue Jays, and that leads me to the point of all of this: I think the Blue Jays should start extension talks this offseason.
The 26 year old made 3.4 million in 2017, his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Jays have him under contract for three more years, and he’ll be seeking a hefty raise this offseason. The two sides ended up having to settle in arbitration, with Stroman winning the case after being offered 3.1 by the front office.
Rather than go through that process again and potentially tarnish the relationship, why not see if he can be locked up through the arbitration seasons, and hopefully beyond? At this point his dollar value is going to rapidly climb, so some cost certainty wouldn’t be the worst thing either.
They won’t be getting a sweetheart deal like the one Tampa Bay has with Chris Archer (he signed for six years and 25 million, with two options, in 2014), but it could be smart to get him locked up now as well before his stock rises any further. Other than a rough first half of 2016, the “Stro-Show” has been a top of the rotation arm throughout his career, and is only getting better. I’m among those that believe he hadn’t fully recovered from a torn left anterior cruciate ligament during those struggles, and we’ve seen a more accurate representation this season.
It’s hard to say what it would take to get it done, but if the Blue Jays were to pursue something like a 5 year deal, it would only take Stroman to his age 32 season, with enough time to seek another longer contract before his career is done. Maybe he and his agent won’t even entertain the idea, but if they’re open minded, the front office should give it a shot.