During the cold offseason, I usually get up early ever morning, put on my parka, and walk down John St. to the Dome. I think about baseball things, specifically the Jays.
I stand near the statue of Ted and talk to him, as if I were having a conversation with some sort of capitalistic God. I talk to him about how the Jays can capitalize on their future. I throw my ideas around like an old man who feeds pigeons in a park.
I have spent endless maudlin hours ambling around the Rogers Centre. I walk along Gates 4, 5, 6 and Bremner Blvd. I go back and forth. Spinning in circles. Mumbling Jays thoughts. I think about what I would do if I were an executive for the Toronto Blue Jays – if I were to work for Mark Shapiro.
I wonder about what kind of decisions I would make. I wonder if fans would want to fire me into the sun. The other morning while I was circling the statue of Ted, I made a major executive decision.
Extend them you cowards https://t.co/DvzRnRylGA
— Ryan D (@RyanDifrancesco) March 29, 2019
Maybe I’m just completely boxed out of my mind. And that’s the only takeaway here. Maybe I should just fire this idea into the sun.
Until my recent eureka moment, I hadn’t had any clear visions about this Stroman-Sanchez thing, even after looking into my crystal ball that was given to me by my great aunt, who got it from Rance Mulliniks’ old Slovenian barber.
And, yes, I know that some of you think that the Jays should trade both of these pitchers if they bounce back this year. I know that some of you are prospect collecting hoarders. And, yes, I know that an extension involves both parties and that one party is represented by stylin’ and profilin’ Scotty Boras. But, I say extend them you cowards.
I was talking to my friend Roy-Z from Jays From The Couch about this:
I believe in the 2016 Sanchez that the Jays held onto instead of sending to the Mets. If they’re both good, extend them. If they’re bad, can’t trade them – so buy cheap and extend them.
— Ryan D (@RyanDifrancesco) March 30, 2019
Many Jays writers are going to offer their ideas about this. Many Jays fans are going to share their ideas about this, too. It’s going to be a ‘hot take’ topic this season. Maybe the biggest ‘hot take’ topic all year – can’t wait to hear what Bobcat has to say, or the great Jeff Blair.
Here’s the thing: I have swung back and forth about this ‘should they trade ’em or not trade ’em’ debate. This is what I thought just a few months ago:
Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman had important roles in the 2015 and ’16 runs and since then, both of these pitchers have failed to live up to their prospect-y hype. I’m not shitting on them because blisters, suitcases, and more blisters happen in life. But, holy shit do both of these pitchers need to be good this year.
The fact is that if the Jays don’t trade Stroman or Sanchez this offseason (which I doubt they will), Atkins and company have to hope that the two don’t turn down Josh Donaldson road because Josh Donaldson road leads to Merryweather land and Merryweather land isn’t really that merry at all.
Since the Jays aren’t actual contenders, even though the American League 2nd Wild Card spot will be a dogshit race of dogshit, the organization should probably consider moving Stroman now if the right offer presents itself. Sanchez is a totally different story though because his value can’t get any lower than it currently is.
It seems just like yesterday that we were all gushing over Stroman and Sanchez while they were in the farm system. And now it’s starting to look like neither of them will end up being a part of the ’20, ’21, ’22 fun to come. Let’s just hope that when the time comes to trade both of these homegrown pitchers that the Jays can get some prospect gold in return, or near-ready MLB somethings that will help the future that is still a pile of tomorrows away.
I wasn’t really sure what the front office should do back then, so I just examined what the reality is – a reality that all of you know. But, I have officially decided that the front office should extend them, unless they are offered something too damn good to pass up on, which I don’t think is going to happen.
I mean, look what Detroit got for the Justin Verlander, as the ‘Stros sent a collection of prospects to Motown: Right-handed pitcher Franklin Perez (No. 3), outfielder Daz Cameron (No. 9) and catcher Jake Rogers (No. 11). Now, remember that the Tigers picked up $8 million of Verlander’s $28 million salary in both 2018 and 2019. A deal this prospect-y good isn’t coming back to Toronto no matter how good Stroman or Sanchez pitch. They are not Justin Verlander.
The worst case Ontario is that this ends up like the Josh Donaldson situation. And if that were to happen with Sanstro, it would be a PR nightmare. It would be a ‘look what ‘shatkins’ got for Josh Donaldson and Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez’ howl. It would be one giant Merryweather middle finger. And no kool-aid sipping Jays writer would be able to defend the front office.
If the organization wants to win in 2021, extending Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez should be something to consider, especially if both of these pitchers bounce back this season. Looking for starting pitchers through free agency can be an arduous task. Maybe one not worth betting the future rotation on, right?
Here’s a list of 2020-21 pitching free agents: Trevor Bauer, Robbie Ray, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Jake Arrieta, Jose Quintana. I’m sure Jays fans would love a lil’ Bauer power here in the 6ix – hardly. Maybe a lil’ Big Maple though. Maybe ‘sign James Paxton you cowards’ will be a 2020-21 offseason thing.
Here’s a list of 2021-22 pitching free agents: Noah Syndergaard, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, Chris Archer, Mike Foltynewicz. Don’t get too Atkins-elated about Syndergaard. I’m sure that the Mets will extend him. It’s the cool thing to do these days.
With Jays pitching prospects like Nate Pearson, Eric Pardinho, Adam Kloffenstein, Sean Reid-Foley, Trent Thornton, T.J. Zeuch, Hector Perez, and Patrick Murphy, a wave of young arms in the system could end up being a part of these future ‘Large Adult Son’ years to come. But, just because there is a wave that doesn’t mean that it is going to break right. Prospects go sideways. Prospects break hearts.
It’s been a few years since Alex Anthopoulos ‘traded away the entire farm’ in 2015 – a bat-flipping experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. And how are those pitching prospects doing these days? Three years later, Matt Boyd, Daniel Norris, and Jeff Hoffman aren’t exactly winning Cy Youngs, which is why the Jays will need more than what’s just in the farm if they are going to have a championship rotation. A rotation that can beat the AL East.
So, maybe rethinking Stroman and Sanchez as a part of this future isn’t such a bad thing. If Stroman and Sanchez pitch awesome, extend them you cowards. And if you trade them, the offer has to be pretty damn good – clearly. If they are terrible and go sideways and bleed all over baseballs, the front office would be lucky to get a Juilan Merryweather back in an eleventh-hour trade.
Stroman, who is 27, and Sanchez, who is 26, are in their prime and will remain there for the next 5 or 6 years. Maybe the front office should extend them. It’s what all the cool teams are doing these days. Maybe it’s not such a crazy idea after all. Maybe I’m not boxed out of my mind for thinking this.