There are plenty of suitors if the Blue Jays decide to trade Marcus Stroman this month, but I’m not sure any would value him like Alex Anthopoulos in Atlanta.
I almost feel a little bad doing a near-daily update on the situation developing with Marcus Stroman, but there are a lot of rumours and storylines out there as we approach the July 31st trade deadline.
We’ve heard that the Yankees could be interested in acquiring the talented right-hander, and there have been rumours about other teams like the Houston Astros, the San Diego Padres, and the Philadelphia Phillies sniffing around. However, the one that I believe has the most potential for a good trade return is from the Braves, who employ former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, now the Executive Vice President and GM in Atlanta.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Anthopoulos is a strong GM, and I’m not suggesting that the Blue Jays are going to have an easy time getting big prospect value from him. However, I do think that his history with Stroman could come into play here, and that Atlanta could even be an aggressive suitor. They have a very strong minor league system to deal from, but it’s a matter of getting the most value for arguably the Blue Jays’ most valuable trade piece.
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Anthopoulos was at the helm in Toronto when the team broke a more than two-decade long playoff drought in 2015 and returned to the postseason the following year. In the first season, Stroman tore his ACL in Spring Training and was thought to be lost for the year. However, he vowed he’d make it back in time to help his team that year, and that’s exactly what he did.
He made four important starts down the stretch, posting a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings to help them reach the postseason. He also performed well in the playoffs, which was a bit of a surprise given the seriousness of the injury he sustained six months earlier.
That was nearly four full seasons ago now, but this wouldn’t be like Anthopoulos giving Jose Bautista a chance to continue his career, like the Braves did last year. Stroman is still just 28 years old, has a full year remaining on his contract after this season before he’ll be free agent, and he’s the type of rotation arm the Braves could use to make them a serious playoff threat. Depending on how many chips ‘AA’ wants to throw on the table this season, the Braves could be a suitor for Ken Giles as well.
I do think they’ll be in on Stroman though, and not just because of his history with their Executive VP. He’s been one of the better starters in the American League this year, he’s athletic enough that he may be able to hit a little bit (remember that Atlanta is in the National League), and he’s battled tested between with playoff experience in Toronto, and his heroic effort with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
With a 3.06 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 20 starts, that’s the type of production that any team could use in their rotation. The Braves could really use a boost, and with a 5.5 game lead in the NL East they have every reason to bolster their roster in advance of the postseason. They’re bound to upgrade their pitching one way or another, and don’t be surprised if Anthopoulos goes to an old friend for that help.