Marcus Stroman was traded to New York prior to the trade deadline. That wasn’t a surprise. It was the team in New York that happened to be what shocked everyone.
It had been long-rumoured that the Yankees were looking to acquire the native New Yorker to help add quality depth to a starting rotation that had been enigmatic. It was assumed that Stroman, a guy unafraid of the big lights in New York City and an ability to keep the ball on the ground, would thrive as a Yankee. But, prior to the trade deadline, it was the Mets who came out of left field and acquired Stroman.
So, what happened? Why didn’t Stroman end up a Yankee like as all assumed he would? Well, according to Wallace Matthews of Yahoo! Sports, Brian Cashman didn’t believe that Stroman could be a major difference-maker on the team and, thus, wouldn’t meet Toronto’s demands.
Plopped in the middle of the article in a section titled “Is 2019 Cashman’s masterpiece?” is this quick but incredibly interesting tidbit about the Yankees pursuit of Stroman at the trade deadline.
And this year, when the Blue Jays were demanding Frazier be included in a deadline deal for Marcus Stroman, Cashman refused to let the promising but erratic young outfielder go.
“We were interested in Stroman but we didn’t think he would be a difference-maker,” he said. “We felt he would be in our bullpen in the postseason.”
So the first thing to gather here is that the Jays were asking for a fairly substantial return for Stroman. Last year, they dealt J.A. Happ to their division rival and didn’t get a very exciting return. I can see why they wouldn’t want to do that again. It also makes a lot of sense that Frazier was the guy Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins coveted, given that he was the fifth-overall pick by Cleveland back in 2013.
The next thing is that Cashman didn’t view Stroman as a game-changer. When heading into the deadline, we saw Stroman and his sparkling ERA and figured he was one of, if not the best starting arm on the trade market. Given what Cashman said, the industry seems to think otherwise.
This might also shed some light on why the front office was never interested in a long-term Stroman extension. While his basic boxcar stats are nice, the market is starting to think less of players who don’t rack up strikeouts. Stroman can certainly be the type to buck the trend and prove everyone wrong, but, as we know, this front office isn’t the type to take major financial risks to find out if that’s the case.
Prior to that note on Stroman and Fraizer, though, is also this note that adds to the big picture from a Blue Jays perspective.
Simple rule of thumb: If Cashman wants one of your guys, hold onto him. And if he’s willing to part with one of his, pass.
I noted a while back that it wouldn’t be prudent for the Blue Jays to make a Stroman deal with the Yankees. I honestly don’t care about the division rival thing because you should seek to acquire the best return possible from whoever, but my concern was that Ross Atkins wasn’t going to win a trade with Brian Cashman.
The Mets deal didn’t seem very good at first, but maybe things worked out for the best. If Cashman wasn’t going to let Fraizer go, there was no sense in settling for a lesser package. As the quote from Matthews says, if Cashman is willing to let somebody go, you probably don’t want them anyway. We found that out with last summer’s trade with the Yankees.