Marcus Stroman- Atlanta Braves
Yes, I know that the Atlanta Braves signed Dallas Keuchel to join their playoff-ready squad, but I still don’t think that will keep Alex Anthopoulos out of the running to acquire his former starter in Marcus Stroman.
The Braves have one of the deeper systems in baseball, and the fact that Stroman comes with an extra year of contract control will certainly be appealing to AA and the rest of the front office. He’s also playoff-tested and is having another strong season after dealing with some injury issues last year.
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Julio Teheran has been solid this year, as has Mike Sirotka since re-joining the rotation, and Max Fried hasn’t been bad either. Again, Keuchel will help, but how are you lining up that group in a playoff series? That’s why I think Anthopoulos’ work isn’t over, and why he’ll have his eyes on the Blue Jays’ best starter.
It’s possible that other teams like the Yankees or Padres join in on the sweepstakes, but I don’t think anyone will value Stroman in quite the same way that his former boss would. The fact that the Yankees are in the same division won’t help them get a deal done for Stroman either, even if they were able to get the Jays to trade J.A. Happ last season. That’s a bit of a different situation.
I’m also of the opinion that the Blue Jays should probably be trying to extend Stroman based on their future pitching needs, but all of the rumours that have been coming out have leaned the other way. If we’re talking about the kind of haul the Rays got for Chris Archer last season then fine, but we’ll see what the Blue Jays can get in return for a season and a half of Stroman. I really do believe the Braves give them the best chance to maximize that value.
If I’m going to include one more bonus prediction, I’ll say that Eric Sogard ends up in Tampa Bay before the season is over. He’s been a very pleasant surprise in Toronto, and he is the type of cheap-contract player that the Rays always turn to gold. They could also use a bit of help in their keystone positions as well, and Sogard wouldn’t cost much I’m sure once we get later into the summer. I’m not ready to make a guess on if or where David Phelps gets traded, but that could be a possibility as well.
I’ll reiterate one more time that I’m simply taking an educated guess as to where these players will end up, if the Blue Jays trade them at all. I could legitimately foresee a situation where all five of the players I’ve talked about finish their seasons in Blue Jay uniforms, so this is hardly a foregone conclusion.
We do know that Atkins and company will be taking phone calls over the next month and a half though, and that with a rebuild in full swing there’s a good chance they’ll be happy to add to the minor league coffers. Whether or not they can find those trades remains to be seen.