The fact that Marcus Stroman is pitching very well right now will certainly help his trade value, but so will a fading starting pitching market.
Not long ago, I wrote about the potential starting pitching market and how Marcus Stroman might stack up against the rest of the potentially available arms. A fair bit has changed since then, and it should benefit the Blue Jays.
Near the top of the list I had Trevor Bauer and Madison Bumgarner, both veterans capable of pitching at a Cy Young level. While they were both thought to be available on the trade market, and that still could be the case, both Cleveland and San Francisco have improved their place in the standings over the last few weeks and could now be reluctant sellers.
There are already rumblings that Bumgarner is off the block completely, and that’s because the Giants are surging right now. Entering play on Thursday evening they were just 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, and that’s probably enough to make them hang on to their staff ace. Cleveland now sits at the top of the AL Wild Card standings, and they’re also closing in on the Twins for the Central division lead, just two games back of Minnesota.
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It’s still possible that Noah Syndergaard or maybe Zack Greinke could still be available before the July 31st deadline, but Syndergaard is going to command a king’s ransom even in a down season, and Greinke comes with a very hefty pricetag. We also know that Max Scherzer is almost for sure staying in Washington.
Add it up and the Blue Jays should be very pleased with the way the market is shaping up for starting pitchers. There’s a solid argument to be made that Stroman might end up as the best starter traded this season, assuming a deal happens before next Wednesday’s deadline. There are other talented arms like Matt Boyd, and Mike Minor, but there are no guarantees that either of them are dealt in the next week either.
It also doesn’t hurt that Stroman has been dialled in on the mound lately. On Wednesday night he threw seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits and a walk. It lowered his ERA to 2.96, good for third in the American League right now, and into the eighth spot on the bWAR list, now sitting at 3.2.
There are plenty of other variables that could effect his trade value, such as the clearly dissolving relationship between Stroman and the Blue Jays’ front office right now, and that assumed urgency isn’t going to help things. However, if Ross Atkins and company are seriously prepared to stand firm until they get the kind of “no-brainer” return that they can’t refuse, they should be in a good position to do so.
There are plenty of teams in need of starters right now, and many of them have been linked to the Blue Jays this month, including the Yankees, Astros, Padres, Braves, and possibly others. We don’t know for sure what’s going to happen, but it’s definitely a situation that has the attention of Blue Jay fans, for better or for worse.