It feels like the beginning of the end of Marcus Stroman’s time in Toronto. With the Blue Jays’ season down the tubes and the trade deadline fast approaching, contenders are feverishly adding Stroman’s name to their mid-season wish list.
Earlier in the season, it felt like there might be some semblance of a framework for a contract extension for the 28-year-old. That inkling has all but faded since the Blue Jays have tumbled down the standings into the third-worst record in baseball.
Meanwhile, Stroman is still pitching like he’s headed for the playoffs, throwing to a 3.23 ERA in 16 starts in the first half. He’s pitched at least six innings in 10 of those 16 starts and has never given up more than three runs in all those starts.
At this point, Stroman feels like a luxury that the Blue Jays can no longer afford.
If teams are seeking quality innings on the trade market, look no further than the Blue Jays and Stroman. Certainly, many clubs will inquire about the availability of Stroman, so let’s make a deal and find four trade partners for “The Stro Show”.
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1. New York Yankees
Ordinarily, trading within the division to a rival would be a cardinal sin. Fortunately, the gap between the Blue Jays and Yankees is so cavernous that the Jays need not worry about sending a starter to bolster the Bronx Bombers’ roster.
Sending Stroman to the Yankees seems like the most logical fit for the Blue Jays, as the Yankees clearly need pitching and the Jays don’t appear to have any interest in extending their best starting pitcher.
Coincidentally, Clint Frazier is a player who’s on the outs in the Yankees organization and he could be the key player in a potential deal between the Blue Jays and Yankees. With 11 home runs this season, Frazier would be near the top of the Toronto’s home run leaderboard.
Toronto and New York also got together last summer to make a trade for a starter when the Jays shipped J.A. Happ in exchange for Billy McKinney and Brandon Drury.
2. Milwaukee Brewers
Last season, the strength of the Milwaukee Brewers’ rotation helped carry them to within one win away from the World Series. With a rotation anchored by Jhoulys Chacin of all people, Stroman would instantly skyrocket to the top of the Brewers’ rotation.
The Brewers have the second-lowest starter ERA of any team occupying a playoff spot, so they could use all the pitching help they could get. A battle-tested arm like Stroman who has experienced success in the playoffs could be enough to help push the Brewers over the hump this year.
For any National League teams worried about Stroman’s ability to transition to the Senior Circuit, Stroman owns a sparkling ERA of 2.93 in Interleague Games. He’s also known to swing a mean stick, so he’d probably relish the opportunity to hit every fifth day.
3. Atlanta Braves
Alex Anthopoulos and the Atlanta Braves brought back one former Blue Jay in Josh Donaldson. Could they do it again with Stroman? Anthopoulos was at the helm as Blue Jays GM back in 2012 when the team drafted Stroman 22nd overall.
The Braves’ brain trust has witnessed what the 28-year-old is capable in the regular season and the playoffs. Might they bolster their already impressive starting rotation with another bonafide right-handed pitcher like Stroman?
He’d be a nice complement to Canadian Mike Soroka in the Braves’ starting rotation. The question is whether the Blue Jays and Braves match up when it comes to trade chips. The Braves have a pair of intriguing right-handed pitching prospects: Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson (the Braves’ third and fourth top prospects, per MLB Pipeline).
Failing that, Bryse Wilson (the Braves’ sixth overall prospect) is another top 100 prospect who could really help build up the Blue Jays pitching depth in the minor leagues. Wilson owns a 4.11 ERA in 13 starts for the Braves’ triple-A affiliate this season.
4. Texas Rangers
Of all teams within spitting distance of a playoff spot, the Texas Rangers could use the most starting pitching help. With a rotation ERA of 5.19, acquiring Stroman would give the Rangers a killer 1-2-3 pitching punch in the form of Lance Lynn, Mike Minor and Stroman.
Who would’ve guessed that the man partly responsible for eliminating the Texas Rangers in the 2015 ALDS might have a hand in helping the Rangers back to October for the first time since 2016?