Now that Marcus Stroman has been traded to the New York Mets, which player will the fan base pick on next? There always seems to be one player who gets it, and Stroman was routinely judged throughout his Blue Jays tenure.
We’ve been waiting for it to happen for a few months now and things finally came to a head on Sunday as the Blue Jays traded Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets.
It’s hard to say how good the package that the Bliue Jays received in return, but time will tell how bright the futures of Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson will be. While neither of the two pitchers ranks among the top 100 prospects in baseball at the moment, there are plenty of folks who think Woods-Richardson could be there next year, and that the 24-year-old Kay has a solid MLB future as well.
Now that the trade has be done, we could reminisce about Stroman’s tenure, and we’ve also done that on this site as well, but I want to talk about another topic that I’ve considered for as long as the former first-round pick was in a Blue Jays uniform.
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Why did the fan base pick on him so much? And, who are we/they going to target next?
I’m not going to suggest that the Blue Jays have a fan base that’s out to get their players, but it always feels like there is at least one or two divisive figures on the team at all times, as Stroman was far from the first controversial figure. To a lesser degree, I feel like Ryan Goins was always that guy while he was in Toronto, as some fans loved his blue-collar efforts while others called for his roster spot on a weekly basis.
The more prominent recent example would be Jose Bautista, who was as beloved and loathed as any Blue Jay over the last decade. Most of the fan base adored the home run machine, especially as one of the earliest building blocks of a team that returned to the playoffs after a more than 20-year absence. There were some folks that didn’t care for his attitude on the field at times, which brought frequent criticism from opponents, but also from some of our own.
There’s no doubt that part of the whole thing revolves around the idea of “old school baseball”, and Stroman and Bautista, in particular, are players who have stepped outside of those parameters at times. Some people would have you believe that you’re not supposed to show much emotion on the field, whether you just struck out a key hitter to get out of a jam, or even if you hit a franchise-changing home run. I’m not one of those people, but I definitely know they exist after following this team on social media over the last several years.
Without Stroman on the roster, my guess is the most “expressive” players who will be part of the next generation could be very popular ones. Both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., for example, have been known to show their emotions on the field, and I’ll be curious to see if some fans and writers turn their attention to a different target for their frustration now that Stroman is in a Mets’ uniform. You could argue that a strong performance would keep fans from targeting them too much, but that didn’t stop them from picking on Stroman.
I’ll admit that Stroman brought a lot of attention to himself with his presence on social media, and even with his #HDMH brand. I also wasn’t thrilled with the way he handled the trade rumours in recent weeks, but overall I’ve often like like the fan base picked on him unfairly, just as they/we often did with guys like Bautista before him. My hope is that with Stroman’s departure that hopefully that whole theme will go away.