Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Stroman Loses His Arbitration Case, Says Some Things

Welcome to the modern media environment, where teams don’t even need reporters to function as a conduit to the fans, because their players can just communicate and break news directly over social media, where nothing can ever possib-bly go wrong.

Now to take a big sip of coffee…

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That sure is a hell of a tweet, isn’t it? It has since been deleted (hence the screen shot), but not before it caused a stir. Should it have, though?

Enhhh… maybe.

But look, we all know that Marcus wears his heart on his sleeve, and in his tweets. He isn’t afraid to be a bit emotional, can certainly be impulsive on Twitter, and doesn’t seem to give a damn about the way those thing are going to come off in certain corners. The impulsivity is perhaps something to consider working on (and with the deleting of the tweet, and his walking it back, I think it’s safe to say that he gets that), but for the most part all of that stuff is admirable. And I think that, in general, Stroman takes too much shit for just wanting to be the way he is, and will again for this. From some.

But that’s sort of the thing about being, or trying to be, something of an open book. You don’t get to choose how people are going to interpret what they’re reading. And that problem can be magnified when you’re only communicating in 280 character bursts — or *COUGH* when you’re telling them one thing, like say, that you’ve got thick skin, but maybe coming off like the opposite is true. Marcus seems determined to not let any of that get in way of his expressing himself and taking control of the Marcus Stroman narrative, and I like that about him. He’s smart and he’s interesting and he’s competitive and he’s fearless. But being that open without becoming polarizing is a tricky thing to pull off — especially when you’re an athlete and it looks a whole lot like negativity is being directed at the team you play for. That’s just an impossible game to win with fans who also love the team, and who loved the team before you were here, and will keep loving it after you’re gone. On top of that, if I were his employer I’m not sure I’d look at some of this stuff — this tweet, the Ryan Goins tweet, etc. — and always feel like this is someone who is pulling in the same direction as everybody else. Nor would I be particularly thrilled about the example that this sets for those watching on down the chain — players who maybe can’t get away with being a bit emo about this thing or that regarding the team on social media, because they’re not nearly as talented or incredibly valuable to the organization as Marcus is. (Then again, with how thoroughly this has been walked back, perhaps behind the scenes the Jays stayed on top of that better than we realize.)

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The especially unfortunate consequence of this becoming “a thing,” though, is that none of it really matters a hell of a lot anyway. People are quick to shout that the Jays are now going to want to trade him, or that Marcus will now be hellbent on rejecting any extension offer and hitting free agency at the first opportunity, or that the Jays are the baddies here because they played hardball instead of capitulating (LOL). But that’s just not really how the baseball economy works. If the Blue Jays put an extension in front of Stroman that’s clearly in his best financial interest, he’ll sign it. And unless they get made an offer that they think makes their team better — which, given how great the player is they would be giving up, would have to be a hell of an offer — they aren’t going to trade him.

Maybe club brass won’t see it this way, because they probably prefer not to have to put out PR fires, but no harm, no foul. And if Marcus needs to get a little bit worked up to get a little bit extra motivated to be the best pitcher he can possibly be, I think we can probably all handle the occasional moment of honesty on Twitter. Maybe those “negative things” end up being constructive. Maybe that was mostly what he meant in the first place.

However it works out, cooler heads are, fortunately, prevailing:

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Came up a little short? Is that a height joke??!?

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Yeah, I think we’re all good here.

(For the sake of completeness: Stroman was asking for an arbitration award of $6.9 million; the Jays won the case by filing at $6.5 million. Shit, I’d be mad if I made less than Trevor fucking Bauer, too.)

    • sons

      I doubt anyone shat all over him. Even while thinking AA would have been more personable. It’s just a numbers and age/years debate. It achieves nothing to run a guy down.

  • Steve-O

    Stroman strikes me (based on what I see of the TV and read on Twitter, so yeah) as a guy looking for any slight, real or imagined, as fuel for his competitiveness. If he wants to use this to show the Jays they were wrong to offer him 94% of what he was asking for, all the power to him. Maybe he pitches angry as is better for it!

    I have less than zero concerns about it.

    • El Cabeza

      this is what i came here to say. he needs detractors to be be at his best. he needs that fire fueled like he said. the main issue here is Marcus’ grasp of the term ‘thick skinned’.

  • Barry

    Stroman likely feels exactly like most players feel coming out on the short end of an arbitration case. The difference is that Stroman uses social media as an outlet for his emotions. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know, but I’m not terribly worried that there is going to be long-term bitterness about this. There are three years of team control before we have to worry about Marcus feeling bitter about what his team said in an arbitration hearing in 2018.

  • Henke Panky

    “So y’see Marcus, while we accept your assertion that height does not measure ‘heart’, it does in fact measure distance from the earth to a point of elevation, and the thing about fastball plane, arm angles and release points is that…”

  • Will Murray

    I struggle with stuff like this. On the one hand, I don’t care at all about what he posts on Twitter. I find his feed tedious to follow, so I don’t. But it works for him and works for his many fans, so what the hell, fill your boots. My default is also to be on his side a lot of the time, if only because he gets under the skin of a lot of the dinosaurs around the game. That being said, I’d understand if management and his teammates are a bit put off by it all. I doubt it has any tangible impact on the field, but I can’t imagine anyone else with the Jays wants to be asked about Stroman and what he says on social media. Oh well, at least Zaun is gone and Simmons is shitting his pants in Korea over curling.

  • sons

    No is is more judgmental than a guy who says “I don’t judge”. And no one has thinner skin than a guy tweeting about his thick skin.

    Hard at this point to think Stroman is NOT a prima donna. I can’t recall the last Blue Jay so obsessed with himself publicly.

    I’ll even give Robo-Shapiro the benefit of the doubt in this case.

    • Malcolm

      “Hard at this point to think Stroman is NOT a prima donna” So fucking what? He’s our prima donna and the ace of the staff and he’s made his presence known since he’s been here. His performance on the mound backs up everything he’s ever said publicly and that’s what matters.

    • El Cabeza

      and if he continues to pitch like he’s been pitching then who cares? dude needs that chip on his shoulder. he’s needed it his whole career to get the most out of himself. seriously, if he was 6’2, he probably wouldn’t be half as good as he is. #itsfine

  • Rogers/Bell should not secure your home

    Sooooooo what now with mlb agents.
    Stro and Osuna has the same agent that loves to go to arb and both lost,
    EE’s agent is still trying to convince people he got EE a good deal,
    And Boris Needs to pull 5 rabbits out of 5 different hats to not fail his remaining free agent hold outs.

    Do players even need agents?

    Everything seems pretty streamlined. Perhaps the players just need a stronger union to represent them in contracts and get rid of agents any their 2-10%.

  • jays17

    You defend Stroman no matter what because you’re a homer. The fact is, all this crap we see from him is a very good indication of who he is as a person and teammate. His childish grudge against Sanchez, behaviour towards umpires, antics on the mound, immature tweets where he consistently claims he’s “thick skinned and doesn’t listen to the noise” (when everyone knows it’s the opposite), tweeting negative things about a restaurant because he feels he’s entitled, these all add up. They add up to him being a jerk, this matters on a team. Anyone that has played knows that.

    • El Cabeza

      They do all add up, to nothing. he pitches and does it very well. are the relievers less likely to close out the game because they don’t want him to get the W or are they more concerned with winning for the team and their own careers? Hitters won’t want to give him run support? Fuck off with your hot takes bahd.

    • Barry

      Please detail “his childish grudge against Sanchez,” because you clearly have insight that no one else does. No one knows what sort of relationship they have now, nor does anyone know the reason for whatever fallout they may have had. So, please tell us what happened, and how Stroman was “childish.”

    • Jimbo Jones

      “They add up to him being a jerk, this matters on a team. Anyone that has played knows that.”

      I played (still do in fact). The best baseball team I ever played on was made up mostly of people who I would categorize as jerks. I played one season with this team. We won several weekend tournaments over the course of the season and the league championship. Why? Because we all got along? Because we were all really good guys? No, because we were all really good at baseball.