Marcus Stroman not shying away from trade rumors
Trade demands for top-end starters - especially ones with multiple years of team control - are understandably high, but James Paxton's arrival prior to the 2019 season is just one example that proves it can be done.
For many Yankees fans, Max Scherzer of the Nationals represents the kind of 'big fish' that would put the Bombers above and beyond their competition, but those around the Nats seem convinced that Mad Max is going nowhere.
Madison Bumgarner is a similar pitcher that might be a more feasible possibility for the Yankees and their rich farm system, but again, the price tag even for a last-place Giants team is immense, and the Yankees don't appear willing to trade from the top end of their organization for a rental like MadBum.
The next-best arm seemingly on the trade block is one that's already in the Bronx this week, Marcus Stroman, as his Toronto Blue Jays battle the Yankees over a three-game set.
Prior to the teams' series opener on Monday night, Stroman had plenty to say about the Big Apple, his future with the Jays and his status as a possible trade target.
"You hear rumors all the time," Stroman told Lindsey Adler of The Athletic (paywall).
"I love excitement. I love bright lights. I love competition. I love pressure. I've always loved pitching here even though I haven't necessarily pitched well here. I've always enjoyed it."
Though standing at just 5-foot-7 and 180 lbs. (although "height doesn't measure heart" as he likes to say), the fiery Stroman has roots in the Empire State, originally hailing from Medford, N.Y. before his professional career took off.
Stroman was eventually drafted 22nd overall in 2012 by the Blue Jays following a stint at Duke University, and has pitched to an above-average 112 ERA+ over his six seasons in Toronto.
"I'm built for the bright lights and the moment," Stroman said. "I'll take that ball each and every time."
Stroman has gone through his share of successes and hardships since debuting in 2014, but his pitching profile checks several boxes that could make him a solid fit in the Bronx: innings-eater, ground-ball aficionado, big-game pitcher.
As Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors writes, "The 28-year-old is earning $7.4MM this year with another arb campaign remaining. While the Jays could hold if they fancy a shot at contention next year, or see a path to an extension, it seems like a good opportunity to cash in a pitcher that has had some ups and downs."
Stroman's ERA over the years has resembled a see-saw between 2014 and 2019: 3.65, 1.67, 4.37, 3.09, 5.54 and 3.04 through 17 starts this season. Stroman finished eighth in Cy Young voting in 2017, his best career season, when he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA and two complete games over 201 innings.
Though he may not have the Cy Young pedigree of Scherzer or the World Series résumé of Bumgarner, Stroman could be the perfect target at the crossroad of obtainability and value that could make sense for the Bombers on their proverbial chase for 28.
"I'm from New York and I'm a New York boy," Stroman said. "That kind of says everything for itself."