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Is Marcus Stroman Being Dangled as Trade Bait for an Outfielder?

Sportsnet

For the first time in a very long time, starting pitching is one area which the Toronto Blue Jays haven’t needed to address this offseason. They have all five starting pitching positions accounted for. Save for a few depth moves, the Jays have to do very little.

With the Blue Jays owning several solid starting pitchers, naturally, the front office has likely fielded a lot of calls this offseason with inquiries into availability of said starting pitchers.

Earlier today, Ross Atkins was asked about the very subject of dealing from the starting rotation. His response was this: “Everyone understands we’re not motivated to move them. It would take a lot”.



This includes somebody like Marcus Stroman; who was either the third or fourth best starter on the Blue Jays in 2016. Aaron Sanchez seems like a player who’s completely untouchable, but the Jays might be willing to listen on Marcus Stroman.

According to Jon Morosi, they definitely don’t want to do a 1-for-1 deal with the Colorado Rockies to send Marcus Stroman for Charlie Blackmon. Can you really blame them?

I’m not sure how much of this is just Morosi tabling a potential trade scenario to an executive, and them just refuting it. He’s long suggested the Blue Jays could go after Charlie Blackmon (and Adam Eaton), but there’s never been a secondary report to corroborate those reports.

Whether or not there’s validity to a Blackmon/Stroman trade, it raises an interesting question; would the Blue Jays be willing to trade Marcus Stroman for a position player? More specifically, for an outfielder?

If it’s for Charlie Blackmon, absolutely not. The Colorado Rockies may have a bit of a crowded outfield now that Ian Desmond signed a five-year deal, and the Rockies may be more inclined to make Charlie Blackmon available, but he isn’t enough for Marcus Stroman.

I’m worried that Blackmon may be too much of a product of Coors Field (his career home OPS is .900, compared to a .727 OPS on the road). But more importantly, Stroman is under team control for four more seasons; Blackmon is only under team control for two more seasons.

As badly as the Blue Jays need outfielders, I’m not sure it should be at the cost of creating a hole in the starting rotation. 2016 was a difficult year for Marcus Stroman, and the Blue Jays would undoubtedly be selling low on him.

My thinking is this; if Marcus Stroman is going to be involved in some sort of trade package for an outfielder, make it for someone like Carlos Gonzalez or even Andrew McCutchen. Make it worth giving up four years of control.



Obviously, it would take much more than simply Marcus Stroman to fetch one of those top-tier outfielders … Stroman would probably only be the starting point in those discussions.

As of now, if I were the Blue Jays, I’d have no interest in dealing Marcus Stroman for Charlie Blackmon. But in the coming weeks and months, things may suddenly change. But if there’s one tradeable asset off the Blue Jays roster, it’s certainly Marcus Stroman.

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Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his son for the next 20 years.

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7 Comments

  1. Billy

    December 8, 2016 - 10:41 am

    You say you don’t want Blackmon because his OPS difference is so big from Coors to the rest of the league, forgetting first that Rogers Centre is one of the rare stadiums where his high end Coors numbers would very likely translate. Secondly, you say you’d want Carlos Gonzalez for Stroman, but he’s under contract for only 1 year and is a similar player to Blackmon last season and also has similar splits in OPS (.966 at home, .744 on the road last season) and his OPS+ was 111 to Blackmons 130. Blackmons OPS+ was superior to even Nolan Arenado. And you say the Jays would need to give Stroman PLUS something else? To get a worse player, with less control, at a higher salary from the same team? You’re going to need to explain that one a little further good sir as it makes no sense that you vehemently don’t want Blackmon for Stroman straight up, yet you would give up Stroman and then some to get a player who is worse in almost every value based way (less contract length, more money, less production, etc, etc)

    1. Ian Hunter

      December 10, 2016 - 10:28 pm

      I know the explanation is a bit wacky – I’m just not sold on Blackmon. Would rather go with CarGo (more of a track record and a slightly better player IMO), even though it means one less year of control.

  2. shawkr

    December 10, 2016 - 9:52 pm

    CarGo? Really? Guy has averaged 124 GP, 25 HR, and 109 OPS+ over the last three seasons. He is under contract for one more year at $20M. Decent numbers, to be sure, but hardly the all-star of old and kind of stretch at that price. He’s worth a B-level prospect at best.

    McCutchen? Maybe. But I don’t know why you think McCutchen is a substantially better player than Stroman. If both are reasonably projected to be 3-4 win players, why give up four years of one for two years of the other, let alone “much more”? Do you think we’ll see Cutch revert to all-star form?

    Are you just down on Stroman?

    1. Ian Hunter

      December 10, 2016 - 10:23 pm

      Not necessarily down on Stroman, but I think we may have already witnessed his ceiling. McCutchen is coming off a down year, has 2 years left of control – and that fits the Blue Jays window of contention for now (Donaldson with 2 years of control, Happ 2 years still etc).

      1. shawkr

        December 11, 2016 - 2:05 am

        Fair enough. It seem like a very real possibility, though, that McCutchen = Stroman next year (at least Fangraphs thinks they’re roughly equivalent, for what that’s worth), so I’d be wary of adding any extras.

        It’s weird to me that some players are presented as assets to be purchased, and others as mere currency. For example, Sale is put on the market and other teams are characterized as buyers, expected to pony up the requisite package. But why can’t you think about Chicago as the buyer and Moncada et al. as the prize? Why are we asking if such-and-such package is “enough” to buy Sale, and not if Sale is enough to “buy” the package? In reality, these are all player-for-player trades, with no buyer or seller, just traders.

        1. Ian Hunter

          December 11, 2016 - 2:53 pm

          That’s very true – and another reason why teams like the Jays are often ridiculed for not making a trade of that magnitude. Sure, maybe Toronto had the prospects to make that kind of trade, but they probably didn’t have the prospects the White Sox coveted most. All prospects and players are not created equal.

  3. shawkr

    December 10, 2016 - 9:53 pm

    addendum: I think Happ for Blackmon is an imminently more sensible proposal.

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