Are the San Diego Padres working on bringing Marcus Stroman to America’s Finest city?
While many of you were likely braving the crowds on “Panic Saturday” to complete your holiday shopping, news of on-going trade discussions between the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays surfaced, courtesy of MLB.com’s Jon Morosi.
Morosi reports that a deal isn’t close at the moment, however, the Padres have stated over and over again this offseason that they are in the market for at least one starting pitcher to headline their rotation. Stroman fits that role and should not cost San Diego any of their top minor league talent, something general manager AJ Preller has mentioned all offseason as a goal, bringing in major league talent without sacrificing the farm.
"While San Diego’s most elite prospects — Fernando Tatis Jr., MacKenzie Gore and Francisco Meija — likely won’t be sent to the Blue Jays if a deal is completed, pitching prospects Michel Baez and/or Logan Allen could be involved."
If a deal is finalized and involves Michel Baez straight up or with a mid-level prospect added to the deal, this is a great move for the Padres. Moving Logan Allen as part of the deal would be a tougher pill to swallow, only because Allen has all the tools and makeup to be a dominant, power pitcher for years to come in San Diego, with a track record in the minors to back it up.
Stroman is coming off the least-productive season of his four full major league seasons, having been limited to 102 innings (19 starts) due to shoulder fatigue and blisters. However, as he has shown in the past, Stroman is capable of dominating across 200+ innings, having thrown more 200 innings in 2016 and 2017 with the Blue Jays.
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His 2018 baseline stats are a bit misleading, finishing his 19 starts with a 4-9 record and 5.54 ERA. Stroman’s FIP of 3.91 shows that he was a much better pitcher than what his ERA indicates, thanks to his ability to generate weak groundballs on a consistent basis.
Over the past three seasons, Stroman has produced one of the lowest percentages of hard-hit balls in the league while maintaining his groundball rate between 60-64%. Among all starting pitchers who tossed at least 100 innings in 2018, Stroman finished with the highest GB rate in baseball (62.1%), nearly 6% higher than second place on the list, Clayton Richard.
With a solid defense behind him in a pitcher-friendly park, Stroman has the potential to be a dominant arm with the Padres. The 27-year-old is under team control for two more seasons and he adds a right-handed arm to a current rotation mix heavily dominated by left-handed arms. Take him out of the American League East and his numbers are sure to improve even more.
A move like this seems to be a great compromise between those fans who want to see the Padres go out and acquire a top of the rotation arm, even if it means unloading numerous prospects, and those fans who want to continue to see what these prospects can produce at the major league level.
As much as Marcus Stroman seems to love being a Blue Jay and representing Canada, a trade for Stroman fits what the Padres are currently looking for, upgrades the rotation, and makes sense for the Blue Jays, who continue to reload and wait on their insane farm system to develop and compete in the always intense AL East.