Blue Jays: The free agent stars they won’t be bidding on
A different reason to pass
I thought about expanding this whole thing beyond three players and possibly even including guys like Anthony Rizzo or Freddie Freeman. However, I didn’t want to venture into territory that is too blatantly obvious, and I think most Jays fans can put together that we won’t be signing a high-end first baseman.
That said, I’m surprised by how many Blue Jays fans seem to think it’s possible that Marcus Stroman could come back to the organization that drafted him, and where he pitched for the first six seasons of his MLB career.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Stroman wouldn’t bring a quality effort on the mound. He was quietly excellent for the Mets in 2021 after sitting out the shortened 60-game schedule in 2020, finishing with a 10-13 record, but posting a 3.02 ERA and a 1.145 WHIP over 33 starts that covered 179.0 innings, good for 3.7 bWAR. It’s just that the bridge has already been burned between the Stro Show and Toronto, even if both parties have been playing a lot nicer lately.
Naturally the front office never came out and said it, but they made it pretty clear that they were ready to move on from Stroman when they traded him in 2019, for whatever reason or reasons there may have been. The right-hander was very vocal about his desire to sign an extension and remain in Toronto with this talented generation of young players, and he was even louder on his way out when the Blue Jays decided against that route and traded him instead.
I’ll admit that on paper that seeking a reunion could make a fair bit of sense. MLBTR has Stroman receiving five years and 110 million with his next contract, which could be a fairly good bet to make. He’s now passed the threshold of 30 years old, but Stroman takes extremely good care of his body, and often documents his workout routines and various efforts to be the best version of his physical self on his social media channels. He’s also a pitcher that relies more on movement than velocity, and those types generally age a lot better than the pure power guys.
However, in baseball there is more to the equation than what you see on paper. For one reason or another the Blue Jays’ relationship with Stroman soured a couple of years ago, and I sincerely doubt that much has changed. I don’t expect that there are many lingering or harboured ill feelings, but it’s pretty hard to imagine the front office is ready to break out the chequebook for a contract of more than 100 million, especially if they weren’t interested when he was two years younger.
While I may have thrown some cold water on three big free agent names and their likelihood to join the Blue Jays, I absolutely expect Ross Atkins and the front office to have an extremely busy offseason. I anticipate that they’ll be connected to many of the biggest stars that free agency has to offer, and likely to the top potential trade candidates as well. I just don’t think we’ll see anything serious when it comes to Correa, Seager, or Stroman. Not this time anyway.