Stroman fallout: Yanks, Mets, rotation market

July 30th, 2019

The Mets’ acquisition of on Sunday caused many around baseball to wonder whether he had been accidentally traded to the wrong New York team, but the All-Star starting pitcher is indeed headed to Queens, not the Bronx.

The unexpected move drew immediate speculation that the Mets were just beginning their moves, while the Yankees sat by and watched one of the top pitchers on the market land in an unforeseen spot with time running out before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.

Stroman’s move to the Mets has ramifications far beyond his own future, so let’s look at some of the fallout from the biggest trade of what has thus far been an uneventful trade season.

Where do the Yankees go from here?

Stroman had been perceived as the Yankees’ top target, but the Blue Jays’ asking price was simply more than GM Brian Cashman was willing to pay. Toronto wanted Deivi Garcia -- ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect -- for Stroman, a deal Cashman was not prepared to make. Garcia appears to be off limits unless the return is , though a deal of that magnitude between the Yankees and Mets seems unlikely. , on the other hand, might be more attainable from their crosstown rivals.

The Yankees will continue to monitor the market for starters, with lefties of the D-backs and Mike Minor of the Rangers near the top of the list of available arms. remains the most attractive option, but it’s difficult to imagine the Indians trading the right-hander, even after his temper tantrum on the mound Sunday, as they trail the first-place Twins by only two games.

Lefty is unlikely to be traded by the red-hot Giants, and while lefty is appealing because he won't be a free agent until after the 2022 season, he lacks the type of track record the Yankees are seeking to add to their rotation.

There could be some internal help on the way in the form of injured ace (inflamed rotator cuff/lat strain) and/or shutdown setup man (shoulder impingement), but neither pitcher has appeared in a game this season, so anything the Yankees get from them will be a bonus. If Cashman can’t match up on a deal for a starter, he could decide to bolster the bullpen instead, as’s Jon Paul Morosi reported Sunday that New York has inquired about Tigers closer . The Yankees know him well, having drafted the right-hander in 2009 before trading him in December 2014 as part of the deal for Didi Gregorius.

What does this mean for the Mets?

GM Brodie Van Wagenen zigged when the rest of the industry figured he would zag, acquiring Stroman for the organization’s top two pitching prospects: Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson. The Mets are six games out of a National League Wild Card spot with seven teams ahead of them for the two postseason berths.

“I thought it was quite random,” one American League executive said. “They obviously still think they have a chance.”

Do they, though? Stroman not being scheduled to hit free agency until after the 2020 season made him a good fit for a team looking ahead to next year, especially with Wheeler headed for free agency this offseason. Adding Stroman for a pair of prospects would usually be an indication that the Mets are trying to make a run for October this season, but as the exec pointed out, Minnesota employed an unusual strategy at the 2017 Trade Deadline, playing the role of both buyers and sellers. The Twins emerged as an AL Wild Card team by season’s end.

“Buy and sell?” the exec said. “The Twins did it two years ago, so maybe it’s a sound strategy.”

It’s quite likely that the Stroman deal won’t be the last for the Mets this week. Syndergaard remains a hot commodity -- perhaps the most sought-after arm out there -- but with his free agency not coming until after the 2021 season, there’s no urgency for the Mets to move him. Wheeler, on the other hand, seems like an even more logical trade candidate now, especially since Stroman can simply slide into his rotation spot.

What does this do to the starting-pitching market?

In addition to the Yankees, there are several contenders seeking rotation help. The Braves, Astros, Brewers, Cardinals and Angels could use more starting pitching for the stretch run, while the Padres continue to seek controllable arms.

Syndergaard, Ray, Minor, Boyd and Bauer all fall into that category, and although the Mets were able to land Stroman for a pair of prospects outside of MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, the teams with controllable arms might not be so quick to lower their lofty asking prices.

“People have their own prices,” an NL executive said. “Each team is different.”

Having acquired Stroman, the Mets could still be a major player in the pitching market, with Syndergaard and Wheeler attracting interest. Detroit still has Boyd and Greene to dangle, while Ray and Minor will be coveted by multiple contenders. There are plenty of quality -- albeit not dominant -- arms available, and as one exec noted when asked about the high asking prices, “Deadlines have a way of making things happen.” Sunday was the first sign that he might be right.

What’s left on the Blue Jays’ agenda?

Toronto had a busy Sunday, trading Stroman to the Mets and sending Eric Sogard to the Rays.

The reaction to the Stroman deal was mixed, as neither Kay nor Woods-Richardson are viewed as top-tier prospects, though the 18-year-old Woods-Richardson received more praise.

“Simeon is physically developed, has good stuff, but I was surprised by his feel at 18,” one scout said. “He has a chance to be a quality big league starter. He’s a good get.”

A second scout tabbed Kay as “a future No. 4 starter,” while an NL executive sees both pitchers as “back-end rotation guys.”

According to sources, the Blue Jays had asked for better prospects from multiple teams, but all of them balked at the requests.

“What they asked for from us was a good bit more than what they got from the Mets,” one club source said.

The Blue Jays aren’t done. Having decided to promote Bo Bichette from Triple-A to join Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio in the big leagues, Toronto is all in on its youth movement. That means impending free agents first baseman and righty reliever will likely be moved, while closer (arbitration-eligible for the final time next winter), shortstop and righty reliever (2020 options) could also be traded.