Blue Jays: Stroman don’t need no mentor

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: Marcus Stroman
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 28: Marcus Stroman /

According to conversation on Jeff Blair’s show on Sportsnet 590, the Blue Jays may have talked with CC Sabathia about mentoring Marcus Stroman, and “Stro” doesn’t care for it.

We learned earlier this week that the Blue Jays had conversations with CC Sabathia about coming to Toronto in 2018, but so far there have been no further developments on a contract. That said, there appears to be a little more that’s come out of those discussions, at least according to Sportsnet 590’s Jeff Blair.

Blair mentioned that the Blue Jays talked with Sabathia about not only joining their team, but also taking a role as a mentor for another talented starter, Marcus Stroman. At 26 years old, Stroman is an energetic young man, and a key to the future success of the Blue Jays’ organization. He’s also under club control for at least three more seasons, and is due to receive a substantial raise in arbitration this offseason.

It makes sense that the Blue Jays want to continue to surround their young players with veteran influence, as they have in recent years with guys like Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, and several more. However, it sounds like Stroman no longer feels he’s one of the young guys in need of that sort of thing, at least according to a bit of a cryptic tweet he sent out earlier this morning.

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We don’t know for certain, but it would appear that Stroman is reacting to the report from Blair, and making it clear how he feels on the issue. While it may be a little odd that he’s publicly addressing this, it’s not uncommon for Stroman to make his feelings known on social media, as he’s the most prominent figure on the team when it comes to an online presence.

There are a couple ways to look at this if you ask me. First, it’s good to see that Stroman is feeling more confident in himself, and even his own role within the team. He’s been an excellent role model and ambassador for the #HDMH brand and movement, and I don’t blame him if he sees himself as more of a leader than a follow at this stage of his career. You want to see that confidence from your best players, and that’s mostly what we’re seeing here.

On the other hand, you also want to see your younger players embrace the veterans on the roster, and continually be students of the game, whether they’re 26 like Stroman, or even at 37 like Sabathia. As much as it appears that Stroman is a little resistant to the idea, don’t kid yourself about his openness to listening to someone like Sabathia when he talks about pitching. Stroman is anything but stupid, so he’s not going to shut his ears off when he has an opportunity to learn something.

It’s more likely that he doesn’t like the idea of there being a “designated” mentor for him, and for that I can’t blame him at all. I don’t know the man personally and I’m just speculating on how he might feel, but after finishing 4th in the AL in ERA in 2017 and topping 200 innings for the second consecutive season, would you want your team to assign you a babysitter? That may sound a little harsh, but it’s all about perception.

Stroman will miss his de facto mentor in Jose Bautista, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be lost without him. He’ll embrace his teammates, new and old, and they’ll all find their place within the new clubhouse dynamic.

As far as having a defined mentor, it sounds like Stroman is past that phase of his career, and I’m just fine with that. Hopefully we can start talking about a free agent signing or a trade soon, rather than stuff like this.

Next: Winter meetings rumour round up