Blue Jays: Did Ross Atkins make the Marcus Stroman trade too early?

DENVER, COLORADO - JUNE 01: Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 01, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JUNE 01: Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 01, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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With a close to three full days until the trade deadline, fans and writers are left wondering whether Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays’ front office traded Marcus Stroman too early.

The drama is finally over around whether or not the Blue Jays were going to trade Marcus Stroman, as the 28-year-old was dealt to the New York Mets on Sunday in exchange for Simeon Woods Richardson and Anthony Kay.

The Mets had been rumoured to be interested in Stroman prior to the deal going down, but it seemed like the kinda of rumour that was very unlikely to come to fruition. The only way it seemed to make sense was if the Mets decided to trade Noah Syndergaard, which they are still expected to do, but it was assumed that if the Mets got seriously involved in the Stroman sweepstakes that it would be in a three-team deal. That’s not how it went down, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the surprise that came with the news.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who spent a good chunk of Sunday researching video and articles about both Woods Richardson and Kay, and the more that I learned the better I felt about the swap. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t familiar with either prospect, as they aren’t on most of the notable prospect lists. I also hadn’t scoured the Mets’ farm system recently, as I had with other teams that I expected to be in the Stroman hunting.

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With all that said, I’ll admit that just because I didn’t know much about the two players the Blue Jays received in the deal doesn’t mean that it won’t work out. There appears to be a lot of talent in the pair of arms, and it’s obvious the Blue Jays saw something in one or both of them in order to not only make the trade, but to pull the trigger on the deal when it happened. I mean, there was almost three full days until the July 31st deadline, when the ability to make trades expired after 4pm EST.

I’m not a fan of waiting until the 11th hour to make a deal, and I’m made an argument for the Blue Jays to make an earlier trade in the past. That said, after learning that Stroman had been traded to the Mets, I can’t help but wonder if Ross Atkins and his staff made their decision a little prematurely. We don’t know the behind-the-scenes details of the trade talks, and it’s possible that the Mets gave Atkins and company a deadline, but I can’t help but wonder how the market might have shaped up if they had waited another 24 hours.

With the San Francisco Giants surging, Madison Bumgarner is probably off of the trade market. Trevor Bauer embarassed himself on Sunday and further the narrative that he’s a difficult attitude to deal with, althought that may expedidite his removal from the Cleveland Indians roster. As far as the rest of the starting pitching market, we haven’t seen a lot happen yet.

That means that there are a lot of teams still looking for starting pitching, including the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, and several others. Perhaps they’ll all turn their attention to Syndergaard or others that could be available, but I can’t help but wonder how much the desparation could ramp up as we near the hard deadline. There has always been a non-waiver deadline for August, but this is the first season with a single deadline. I’ve always assumed that would have at least one or two teams making a bit of a premature, desparate move on July 31st. We’ll never know if the Blue Jays could have benefitted from that scenario, although I’ll concede that it’s possible it could have bit them in the butt as well.

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The reality is, the situation had become pretty sour between the club and Stroman in recent weeks, and I can understand why the front office wanted to make sure that a deal got done, one way or another. However, I can’t help but wonder if the market would have played more in their favour with another 24-48 hours worth of patience. I guess we’ll never know for sure.

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