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Stroman sounds off on contract, lack of veterans

February 17, 2019

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Marcus Stroman spoke to the media for the first time this spring on Sunday morning and what ensued was a wide-ranging 21-minute interview that touched on almost every aspect of his game and the Blue Jays roster.Stroman spoke out about the lack of veteran leadership in the

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Marcus Stroman spoke to the media for the first time this spring on Sunday morning and what ensued was a wide-ranging 21-minute interview that touched on almost every aspect of his game and the Blue Jays roster.
Stroman spoke out about the lack of veteran leadership in the clubhouse, the current state of free agency and the lack of big moves Toronto made this offseason. With his own free agency looming two years from now, Stroman also went on record to say he has not received any long-term contract offers from the club.
GM Atkins responds to comments by Stroman
A source within the Blue Jays organization disputed the final point and suggested an offer had been made, but that same source stopped short of suggesting the number of years and dollar amount. Here are some of the top excerpts from Stroman's eventful scrum:
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
On becoming a leader as one of the club's most-tenured players ...
Stroman: "I love the idea of being a leader. I think if you asked any of the guys they would tell you I'm a leader. ... They know I got them. Every single person knows that. I think it's a little weird coming into the clubhouse, having José Bautista's original locker when he used to be a veteran. I think it's different. I think it's pretty sad that the game's losing the ability to put these veteran presences in clubhouses because I don't think that people understand how valuable having those guys in the game [is].
"I would have never been the pitcher I am today if I didn't have the likes of Mark Buehrle, LaTroy Hawkins, Casey Janssen, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Melky Cabrera. I came up with unbelievable guys who have been in this game established for years. I cannot tell you how much I've learned from those guys. Without those guys' knowledge that they spewed to me sitting in the cage, sitting on the field, day in, day out, I wouldn't be the pitcher I am today."
On dealing with trade rumors ...
Stroman: "I promise you I'm in a great place mentally. The trade rumors, it's a business, it is what it is. I could care less. I'm at that point in my career where there's going to be trade rumors. I can tell you one thing, there's no one that embodies or loves pitching for the city of Toronto or the country of Canada more than me, nor will you ever find them. No one. I can promise you that. That's raw passion, emotion, that's real. I go back to the city of Toronto and country of Canada all the time in the offseason because I want to see the people, because I enjoy the culture. You can't teach that, that's something that's ingrained in me that I love. That's pretty much all I have to say on that."
On whether his commitment to the organization has wavered with no long-term extension ...
Stroman: "I'm committed to this city and the people and the country of Canada. I love the people. I'm committed to those people. The city, the people, the life, the culture, all across Canada. I don't go and take trips in the offseason across Canada in St. John's, Moncton, Ottawa, Saskatoon [for nothing]. I do that because I love seeing the people and it's such a passionate country, coast to coast. It's something that I love to get out there and see. It's hard to say. It's a business, but I don't look at it that way anymore. I honestly look at it, I'm thankful to have been in the city of Toronto since 2012 and I love Canada. Canada will always be a part of me regardless of what happens going forward."
On whether he's been forced to become a veteran early on ...
Stroman: "I am. It's weird. I have no problem stepping into that role, but it's weird for a 27-year-old to be a veteran in this clubhouse. I walked into this clubhouse and I have Jose Bautista's locker. When I walked in it was Melky Cabrera, Bautista, LaTroy. It's very, very different where the game is going. Like I said, the young wave of guys is extremely talented, but they need to be mentored. They need to know how to go about the ins and outs." 

On his relationship with the front office ...
Stroman: "It's a business, man. It's a business. It is what it is. Mentally, I'm ready to perform wherever it may be. I want to play here. I've been wanting to play here for a long time. I've been waiting to sign a long-term deal, I've been offered nothing. There's no one that embodies the city of Toronto more than me, and you're not going to find guys who come in and want to embody the city of Toronto because it's just not natural. I've taken a liking to that myself. That has been organic and natural. It's not something I had to do. It's something I wanted to do. Like I said, I've always wanted to be here. I want to pitch in the AL East, I want to pitch against the Yankees. I want to pitch against the Red Sox. People shy away from that. People go away and hide in other leagues. I'm here. I don't care who's in the box. I'll face anybody. I could care less. I think that's the type of mantra and the type of confidence the city of Toronto needs, to be honest with you."
On whether the lack of extension talk is bothersome ...
Stroman: "Would it bother you? I play year to year pretty much. It's a business. It doesn't affect my relationship with the country of Canada. I'm able to disconnect the two now, between business and people. Just as long as the people know how I feel, that's all I really care about."
On whether Stroman has approached Mark Shapiro/Ross Atkins about an extension ...
Stroman: "No, but I don't think I should have to go and verbally say that. They see it. Everybody sees my work ethic. Everyone sees the passion, everyone sees how hard I work on the daily, year-round. It's not like I'm just working sometimes. I put a lot of emphasis into my body and being good at this game. A lot more than most people. There is nobody that embodies this city better. I would love to pitch in the AL East for a long time, against the best competition in all of baseball. I think if you can pitch in the AL East, you can pitch anywhere."
On whether the number of unsigned free agents gives Stroman pause regarding his own upcoming free agency ...
Stroman: "I'm trying to remain hopeful, but I'm never going to be someone who settles. I know what I'm worth. I put in a ton of work daily. I know the type of pitcher I'm going to be over the next four, five, six, seven years. I take care of my body like no other. Whatever it may be, it's a business. I haven't been approached with anything, ever, since I've been here so I don't even know how to talk about things like that."
On whether the front office has done everything it can this offseason ...
Stroman: "We're going to see. We play against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. I know their rosters, I play against their rosters all the time. If we match up, we match up. But that's not my job. I'm preparing all of us for what we have to do when we go out there. Are they doing what they need to do to put the best product on the field? At the end of the day, I only care about what's going on in the clubhouse and I promise you, those 25 guys in the clubhouse, I'll have those guys ready to rock."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.