Toronto Blue Jays: Looking at Rotation Trade Value
Marcus Stroman (27) RHP
Trade Potential: MODERATE
Contract: 7.4 Million (Free Agent 2021)
2018: 4-9, 5.54ERA in 102.1IP, 0.2WAR
Marcus Stroman’s trade potential would be in the moderate range, as there have already been discussions between the Blue Jays and other teams regarding the talented thrower. The main issue stems from the Blue Jays valuing Stroman more than other teams, and that is a good thing in my opinion.
Marcus only being 27 leaves him squarely in the future window of contention the Blue Jays have planned, and he also has experience in big games having pitched in 30.2 postseason innings with a 4.40ERA. At 27, Stroman already has more postseason innings than any current Blue Jays pitcher with Matt Shoemaker at 6IP and Clayton Richard at 11IP. Of course, the biggest key to him being traded would depend on the compensation package coming back.
If Blue Jays management were to be blown away by an offer for Stroman, I think they would consider it, and with only one more season after the upcoming campaign still under team control (2020), it would be mighty tempting to cash out on the Duke University graduate. However, I feel as though with Marcus Stroman’s love for the city of Toronto, and down year statistically, and a career 10.9WAR, the Blue Jays may lock up the longtime Blue Jay to fit in with their future window of contention.
Clayton Richard (35) LHP
Trade Potential: VERY HIGH
Contract: Three Million (Final Year)
2018: 7-11, 5.33ERA in 158.2IP, -1.2WAR
Clayton Richard is the most likely Toronto Blue Jay starting pitcher to be traded this upcoming season. At 35 years old, and with an expiring contract at year’s end, there is no reason really to keep the left-hander through the full season. I wrote recently about how Richard could end up as a relief pitcher this season, depending on the circumstances, and that has a real possibility of happening.
Yet there is a way that Richard could pitch out of the rotation, and get dealt as well. He’s coming into spring training battling for the last rotation spot against Sean Reid-Foley and potentially others, and has the experience to likely put him over the top. Last season the southpaw pitched in 158.2 innings, and he put up197.1 innings in 2017. With the Blue Jays having little in the way of experienced innings eaters, and a history of injuries, it may lead them to start the season with Clayton Richard in the rotation regardless of spring training results.
If Richard were to perform well during the regular season and deliver a decent first half, he will likely be moved to a team looking for left-handed help. In 2017, the Blue Jays were able to move veteran lefty Francisco Liriano to the Houston Astro’s for prospects while he was pitching a 5.88ERA in 88.2IP. It goes to show that teams are willing to take on left-handed pitchers with experience, even if their peripheral numbers are not the greatest, and with Richard’s low price of 1.5 million for 2019 (San Diego is paying the other 1.5 million) teams won’t have to think twice about taking a flier on the veteran. Look for Clayton Richard to be traded in 2019 whether he is pitching in the starting rotation, or the bullpen, with his only chance of staying in Blue being if he were to completely fall off the world statistically, and offer no value to other teams at all.