The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly putting Marcus Stroman out on the trade market and the Houston Astros might be a good fit.
Toronto is apparently looking to rebuild their team around Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with younger talent. Marcus Stroman is one of a few veterans that are supposedly being trotted out on the market, along with Aaron Sanchez and Justin Smoak. Is this something the Astros should take into consideration?
Stroman was one of the pitchers that were on the Astros’ radar this past offseason and whatever the reason was, it never happened. Maybe the Blue Jays wanted too much in return or possibly Houston just decided to stand pat and see how the season transpires. But in any case, the opportunity seems to have presented itself again and with the season he’s having, it might be worth a second look.
According to Matthew Trueblood of Baseball Prospectus, “Marcus Stroman is finally dominant again like his rookie year, but not in the same way. He has ditched the sinker and moved on to the slider and cutter while maintaining his fastball velocity, allowing him to deceive hitters with three possible fastball-like pitches with varying movement.”
This strategy seems to be working for Stroman, the 28-year-old is sporting an ERA of 1.43 on the season. Although his record is 1-3, he has been dominant on the mound only ceding three earned runs once this season and two or less in each of the other five games. He appears to be improving as the season progresses with a 0.47 ERA over the last three games.
Stroman had a down year last season, most likely due to injury problems he sustained throughout the year. But if he can stay healthy and put up numbers as he did in 2017, he would be a nice asset to the starting rotation.
The 27-year-old had a record of 4-9 and posted an ERA of 5.54 last season. But Stroman was battling a sore shoulder and a persistent blister on his throwing hand. The blister was only allowing him to throw only two pitches. But after missing most of the 2015 season because of a knee injury he sustained, Stroman pitched 200+ innings in 2016-17 showing his durability.
“I couldn’t even throw a curveball or slider,” he said. “It’s hard to keep battling and going out there, knowing that you can only go to one or two weapons in your repertoire.’’
In 2017 a healthy Stroman showed more promising numbers. He finished the season 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA. He was eighth in the voting for the Cy Young Award and won a Gold Glove. He had a WAR of 5.7 and an ERA+ of 145 while striking out 164 batters. Stroman’s career ERA is 3.78 which is inflated by the injury-plagued 2018 season.
Stroman is set to earn $7.4 million and will be arbitration eligible in 2020, making him an affordable option and later into the season the elite pitchers that will become available on the market will most assuredly cost more. Plus, adding him to the rotation would give the Astros the option to return Brad Peacock to the bullpen, where his performance seems to excel.