Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman trade already starting to look better

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: Marcus Stroman #7 of the New York Mets smiles after he got the force out at first to end the fourth inning at Citi Field on August 21, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: Marcus Stroman #7 of the New York Mets smiles after he got the force out at first to end the fourth inning at Citi Field on August 21, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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At the time the trade of Marcus Stroman seemed a little light, but since then Blue Jays fans have started to get a window into the value of their new prospects.

Before anyone calls me on it, I’ll be the first to admit that I was critical of the Blue Jays’ front office for some of the trades they made this past July. One of them was the swap that sent Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets in exchange for Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson.

I was surprised that the Mets were the team that swooped in to trade for the Blue Jays’ top starter, but I was even more surprised that the trade happened several days in advance of the deadline, and that I didn’t recognize either of the names coming back to Toronto.

Turns out that my lack of knowledge of the Mets’ minor league system didn’t matter much, and that the Blue Jays might have done pretty well in this trade after all.

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Of course, we won’t know the real score of this trade for at least a few years, but the early returns on Kay and Woods Richardson have been very good. Meanwhile, Stroman has mostly struggled as a Met so far, although that’s not even terrible relevant anymore.

Kay pitched for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons for the remainder of their season, and could very well be a candidate to join the Blue Jays when the rosters expand after midnight. He ended up making six starts with the Bisons and went 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA, a 1.350 WHIP, and 70 strikeouts against 23 walks in 66.1 innings.

The book on him doesn’t paint the story of a future ace, but there’s a good chance that Kay can contribute at the back of a big league rotation. With Charlie Montoyo still juggling a lot of inexperienced arms to put together his pitching staff, I expect that Kay will get an audition in September, and will be part of the rotation competition when next spring rolls around.

The 18-year-old Woods Richardson may turn out to be the prize of the trade return for the Blue Jays, and he’s started things on a very positive note so far. He was given the ambitious assignment of pitching for the Dunedin Blue Jays in High-A, and he stepped up to the challenge in a big way. There aren’t a lot of 18-year-olds at that level at all, and Woods Richardson not only fit in, he thrived against the more experienced competition.

He managed 3-2 record with a 2.54 ERA and a 0.882 WHIP in his six starts, striking out 29 against seven walks in 28.1 innings. It was a much better performance than he had in Low-A while in the Mets organization, but we have to remember that he’s 18 years old and that there’s a lot of learning to be done. Whatever he’s learned thus far as a pro, he did a good job of applying it with the Dunedin Blue Jays and his future looks very bright.

As for Stroman, he’s posted a 4.91 ERA and a 1.675 WHIP so far with the Mets, although I’m sure he’ll get things on track sooner than later. He’s too good to continue performing the way he has since the trade, and I’m sure the Mets will get some value for the deal, even if it mostly comes next season.

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With the benefit of hindsight, I’m already starting to come around on this trade, even if I still wonder what waiting for a few more days to trade Stroman might have brought the Blue Jays. If Woods Richardson and Kay continue on the developmental paths they’ve shown so far, that question eventually won’t matter at all.

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