At the beginning of spring training, Marcus Stroman was coming in with a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays. With a stellar start to the 2019 season, his name is being brought up frequently by the media, but not for his play on the field.
He would make his major league debut in 2014 and has been a mainstay in the Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation since his debut in the league. His best season came in 2017, where he started 33 games and would pitch to a 13-9 record with a 3.09 ERA.
Another one of Stroman’s strengths on the field is his defensive ability, which led him to winning the Gold Glove Award in 2017, with only one error and six double plays turned (along with some highlight reel plays on the diamond).
Marcus has dealt with a few adversities throughout his professional career. The most prominent being an ACL tear in his left knee in spring training that sidelined him for most of the 2015 season. Not wanting the year to be a loss, he would return to Duke where he would not only finish his degree, but he would rehab his injury and return healthy enough to finish the 2015 campaign with the team and compete in the postseason. This was quite a remarkable feat given that the injury was supposed to sideline him for the entire season, almost a pure miracle that even had renowned Dr. James Andrews applauding his quick progress and recovery.
With the Toronto Blue Jays knee deep in a rebuild for the foreseeable future, Stroman’s name has been brought up in multiple trade rumours throughout the offseason and in the regular season. He is currently under arbitration for one more year and can potentially become a free agent after the 2020 season.
I personally think it would be a terrible decision to trade Stroman, and I would rather see the team extend him to a long term contract.
While the team is in rebuild mode, Marcus possesses the hard work ethic and the fiery competitive attitude that would be useful for young prospects to learn and build on moving forward. This is evident by how much pressure he puts on himself to compete both on and off the diamond.
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He already has taken on a leadership role with the club through his efforts in connecting with the prospects in spring training, and mentoring the younger players who make the team, regardless of position. This can be seen on his social media accounts if you’re looking for hard evidence.
He’s also one of Toronto’s biggest supporters, and has shown nothing but love for the city he has adopted as his own. When he is not on the diamond, you can usually find him at the Toronto Raptors game or downtown somewhere in the city.
I personally want to see Marcus Stroman succeed in a Blue Jays uniform for most or all of his playing career. His work ethic mixed with his baseball skills and leadership abilities give him the qualities you want in a long term player.
He can provide the team with the quality starts to keep the Blue Jays competitive when he is on the mound but also provides intangibles that aren’t defined by a box score.
I understand that by trading Stroman, the team could acquire quality prospects who would be more controllable with a lot of upside (as long as there is a fair trade from Atkins and co. in terms of value).
His value is higher now than it was last season and could grow when the trade deadline comes around and teams are looking to make a push for the playoffs.
I also understand there will never be a clear consensus by the fans on the argument for trading vs. keeping Stroman on the team.
The Blue Jays possess a healthy dose of prospects who are working their way up the organization, and some are currently playing in new positions to try and crack the major league roster (ex. Cavan Biggio in RF). The team has a lot of depth at a multitude of positions, and I would like to see Stroman stay in a Jays uniform over a trade for a prospect.
He would be a good candidate to mentor and lead the team forward, where he will still be in his prime as a starting pitcher at age 28-29, but also with enough experience to help guide the new players as they reach the major leagues.
He is already a crowd favourite on the team and seeing him traded could make the fans become even more restless than they already are (just look at attendance this year).
It is in Shapiro and Atkins’ hands now, and the only thing we as fans can do is wait and see how the team moves forward this year and the next. Marcus Stroman will continue to pitch and will continue to shimmy, and I just hope it is in a Blue Jays jersey when the season ends.