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Making sense of the Marcus Stroman situation

Is there a phrase for an elephant in the room that everyone is willing and ready to talk about at pretty much all times? Because that’s been the situation with Marcus Stroman this year.

With Major League Baseball’s trade deadline rapidly approaching, the discussion around Stroman’s future with the organization is reaching a boiling point. I think we’ve pretty much all accepted that the team’s ace is going to be dealt at the trade deadline. Stroman himself has come to terms with it.

We can argue all day and night if it’s the right idea to trade the 28-year-old starter who seems to be just entering his prime. This is a bit of a mystery box and the boat scenario with a few other wrinkles mixed in. Really, we’ll have to wait until the trade is made before we dissect whether it was a good idea to sell high on Stroman in order to add more to the farm.

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The new piece of information I want to talk about is this report from Andy Martino that suggests the Blue Jays have, in fact, considered offering Stroman an extension.

Of course, all we’ve heard from Stroman all along throughout this process is that the team has shown zero indication of wanting to keep him around. This began back in February when Stroman said he was disappointed with the fact the front office hadn’t offered him a long-term deal. That quote compounded what is clearly, from the outside, a rocky relationship between Stroman and the Blue Jays’ current front office.

That’s what makes this new piece of information from Martino interesting. Along the way, it’s appeared as though the Jays very clearly viewed the 2019 trade deadline as the ideal time to deal Stroman. He had a disappointing 2018 season thanks largely to injuries and he’s steadily rebuilt his value.

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What I assume is going on here is that the Jays are combating Stroman’s public comments which more than likely depreciate his value. According to Jamie Campbell, the Jays aren’t being offered top prospects in Stroman trade negotiations, and this could have something to do with the fact that all 29 other general managers are cognizant of what’s going on here.

I mean, it’s no secret the Jays want to deal Stroman because it matches with their philosophy of loading up the farm with cheap and controllable players, but it isn’t exactly easy to squeeze the most out of other teams in a trade when the player is coming out and pretty much explicitly saying “they’re trading me.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Stroman coming out and saying what’s happening here. He doesn’t owe the front office anything. He doesn’t have to come out and dance around the issue or pretend this isn’t happening. Stroman is a proud guy who clearly wants to be a Blue Jay and he’s more than likely agitated that the front office doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to extend him. Fair enough.

So coming from the other side, if Stroman is going to let it be known the front office doesn’t want him around, subsequently harming their stance in negotiations, they need to let it be known that they actually are considering a contract extension, even if that isn’t the case. My guess is that this leak is manufactured by the Blue Jays as an attempt to make it appear as though they’re not 100 percent sold on trading Stroman.

I would be shocked if a trade isn’t made in the next few days.

  • dolsh

    “Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Stroman coming out and saying what’s happening here”

    That’s the part I disagree with. He absolutely owes that to the team. He’s an employee, and his public comments can potentially harm the long term performance of the team. It would never happen in baseball, but I know I’d get fired if I publicly stated something to harm the long term performance of my company.
    I’d be really disappointed if the front office didn’t have a “we really like you, but we feel the best for everybody is to get you on a winner now” conversation with him.

    Ultimately, I really hope the FO sticks to a high price. They can always wait to the off-season. Or next year. Or extend him.

    • The Humungus

      I’m right there with you on your conclusion. If extending Stroman makes the team better in 2021 than trading him does, then extend the fuck out of him. If you get pieces in a trade that will make the team better in 2021 than having Stroman does, then trade him now.

      But, don’t give me that employee bullshit. He’s not Nikki Huffman. He’s not Andrew Tinnish. He’s a temporary contract employee. The Jays have rights to his services until October 31, 2020, then after that, he’s free to do whatever he likes wherever he likes. It’s a totally different animal. You can’t bring up your office job to compare it to professional athletes.

  • Piercey20

    I don’t understand the purpose of trading Stroman. He is exactly the type of picture the Jays will need in 2-3 years time. You can’t have all unproven rookies form a pitching staff. Give the man a six or seven year extension and have him mentor some of the young guns coming up. He takes training very seriously…yes he can be vocal but isn’t that the type of leaders some teams need.

    • The Humungus

      You trade him if the benefits of trading him outweigh the benefits of keeping him regarding future seasons. If they don’t, then you extend him.

      Asset management does not mean having a cheap team. It means putting together the best team you can with the assets available to you. A 6 year deal for Stroman (next year + 5) has to be better than 6 years of cheap control of whatever asset you get back trading him. So, Stroman is probably an $18-20M a year pitcher. Next year would be less because of max arb raises (the best he could hope for next year is probably about $14M). So, that’s probably a 6yr, $114 contract. Frontload it for time value of money and to make him easier to trade if he loses his spot in the rotation. Go 20 for 4 yrs, then 15 for yrs 5 & 6 with a $4M buyout on a $15M option for a 7th season. Done. Stro isn’t worth more than $20M per year, and if he thinks he is, he’s misread the market.

      • Piercey20

        I was thinking more of about 22mil/year for 6 years (1arb+5FA) possible options. He’s still 35ish by the time the contract is up. Front load the contract so 75-80% is in the first 4 years. So by the time Vlad is starting to get paid Stroman is taking pay decreases.

      • Dexxter

        I wrote exactly this on MLBTR yesterday:

        He’s probably getting a raise to $12mill or so in arbitration next year. Factor that in plus $20million annually for 5 years. That’s 6/$112million?

        Front load it a bit to save some cash when the other young guys start going through arb. Add a $15 mill option year.

        That’s say 6/$102 with a $4 mill buyout on the option. $20mill for 3 years. $15m for 2 years. $12M for the last 1.

        That’s cheaper than Corbin signed for last year. Similar AAV to Eovaldi but longer term.

        If he really wants to stay in Toronto (which I believe he does) that’s a pretty fair deal.

      • Dexxter

        Any MLB GM openings next year? Maybe me and Humungus should apply.

        What insulting nickname in the Shatkins mould do you think trolls would come up with for us?

  • Peter Gowdy

    I’d be equally unsurprised if they extend him in the next few days. Not only is the rebuild happening faster than expected, the Jays desperately need good starters now. All of the trade talk and extension talk have led us to the point now where a good contract extension would make the Jays more attractive to free agents signing over the winter than if Stro is traded.