KANSAS CITY -- If the rumors were to be believed, right-hander Marcus Stroman was going to end up anywhere other than with the Blue Jays by Wednesday's Trade Deadline. The real question was what Toronto might receive in exchange for its best starting pitcher.
Following Sunday’s game against the Rays at Rogers Centre, the 28-year-old Stroman was officially dealt to the Mets in exchange for Minor League pitchers Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson.
Here are four things to know about the transaction.
1. What the Mets are getting
The most consistent member of the rotation north of the border this season, Stroman started 21 games for the Blue Jays and he posted a 2.96 ERA over 124 2/3 innings with the highest ground-ball rate in the American League at 56.3 percent.
The fan favorite -- one of the longest-tenured players in the organization at the time of his departure -- utilized an extensive repertoire to help him to the third-best ERA in the AL, also with the third-lowest home ERA in franchise history at 3.42, behind only Doyle Alexander (3.06) and Hall of Famer Roy Halladay (3.23).
“I have a really good feel for pitching, I feel like I’ve always had,” Stroman said. “I can spin the ball, I feel like I’m able to take things that guys tell me and put it into my game, not over a week or month, but literally the next day. I have a lot of weapons. I’m excited for the future.”
2. What the Blue Jays are getting
Kay becomes Toronto’s No. 5 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and the 24-year-old lefty brings a three-pitch mix to the table with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, low-80s curveball and an above average changeup. Kay made his pro debut last season after being selected in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft and subsequently undergoing Tommy John surgery. Between 12 starts this season at Double-A Binghamton and seven for Triple-A Syracuse, the 6-foot, 218-pounder posted a 3.13 ERA over 97 2/3 innings with 34 walks, 97 strikeouts and an opponents’ batting average of .221.
Woods-Richardson, ranked as the Blue Jays' No. 7 prospect, has a plethora of upside. The 18-year-old right-hander was a second-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and he made his full-season debut this year in the South Atlantic League. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has a low-to-mid-90s fastball with a quick arm, a curveball with plus potential and an effective changeup. This season, he has posted a 4.25 ERA over 20 starts and 78 1/3 innings with 17 walks and 97 strikeouts.
3. What the Blue Jays like about their acquisitions
“Simeon is one of the most exciting young pitching prospects in baseball,” general manager Ross Atkins said. “He is right up there. One of the most exciting things about young players -- and Simeon was one of the youngest players in his Draft when he was drafted -- is how much they can improve in short periods of time. ... Our projection is that he is one of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball and in the Minor Leagues. Time will tell, and we’ll see.
“In Anthony Kay, we have a higher probability and we’ll see what his upside is. We’re extremely excited about his potential to help very soon. We’d never limit what his upside is. He has a very good feel for the strike zone, he has a great pedigree, is coming off a strong couple of years of performance that comes right into the fold with Sean Reid-Foley, Ryan Borucki, Jacob Waguespack, Thomas Pannone, and will be another piece to that equation.”
4. What’s next on the list
The Blue Jays still have a number of players who have garnered interest from other clubs, with closer Ken Giles among baseball’s best relievers, setup man Daniel Hudson performing incredibly well this season, and shortstop Freddy Galvis, who was scratched from Monday's lineup with lower back tightness.
“We have some very successful pitching that are still members of the Toronto Blue Jays that teams have a lot of interest in,” Atkins said. “There are rentals -- one- and two-year players -- that teams are interested in. Teams have called us on some of our controllable pieces. I think it’s more likely that we’re moving players that are on one, maybe two-year contracts with us.”
Giles won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season, making him incredibly attractive to suitors, while both Hudson and Galvis are only under club control until the end of this season.