13

Extend Stroman And Sanchez You Cowards

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.

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:

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.

  • dolsh

    I would not be upset if this happened. Partially because we can always have more pitching, and partly for what you already mentioned. The contending team is going to need good pitching. Assume some of the prospect-y pitchers flame out. How much is it going to cost to get pitching when the team is ready to win vs. just having the guys already here.
    FWIW, it’s the same as the “Buy Harper now you idiots” plan the team didn’t seem to go for.

    • Ryan Di Francesco

      It would be absolutely awful if either of thes pitchers ended up walking, or the Jays traded them in the 11th hour for whatever it is that they get. We know there is more than enough money to go around in the coming years. They could extend both of these pitchers and still go after someone in free agency.

  • Treylum

    5 year deals for both would definitely suffice. I would prefer Stroman over Sanchez if it came to one or the other. Stroman is the guy you want to hand the ball to on game 162 of the season and you need a win to “get in”.

    This year we really need to stock the farm with high ceiling pitching prospects.

  • Flash McLennan

    Umm, if Bauer pitches in 2021 anything like he pitched in 2018, every fan base in the league would be delighted to have him, including the Jays. Most fans just aren’t as woke as you are Ryan. They just like winning.

      • Flash McLennan

        Assuming he holds true to his stated plan to consider one year offers only, and assuming health etc holds, he’ll be looking at 4-5 $30mm+ offers. The offended members of the auction-winning fanbase can just mute him on Twitter.

        Interesting point re: not being liked in Cleveland. I guarantee that has much more to do with his perceived lack of loyalty/mercenary nature than his political views. And fair enough, fans love to believe that all their players love them and the team and the city and whatever else. But what if the mercenary is brought in to be, well, a mercenary? What if the relationship is purely transactional, with no pretense of loving the given city or team or fanbase? Would it still bother people? Wouldn’t bother me. Some of you guys seem to want more in terms of lip service to cliches than Bauer is willing to provide. That’s fine I suppose, but look at his numbers, and be realistic at what you’re turning your nose up at, and why.

  • Oz Rob

    I can’t say I disagree Ryan. So let’s say the two of them (and others like Giles) have an awesome first half. If we follow the ‘rebuild line’ then they get traded. But doesn’t that mean that 2020 could be woeful? I say keep your studs for the next 4-5 years and build a platform for the new young studs to join. Otherwise it’s just completely defeatist.

    But let’s see how they go in the first half of the year.