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5 most likely trade destinations for Stroman

@castrovince
July 10, 2019

Marcus Stroman has told multiple media outlets in recent weeks that he’s “come to terms with” the possibility of being dealt from the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline. Well, that’s probably a good thing, because the likelihood of Stroman getting dealt is especially high. And

Marcus Stroman has told multiple media outlets in recent weeks that he’s “come to terms with” the possibility of being dealt from the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline. Well, that’s probably a good thing, because the likelihood of Stroman getting dealt is especially high.

And while there has been much talk about -- and there is much industry respect for -- pending free agent Madison Bumgarner in relation to his trade value, Stroman, who was Toronto’s All-Star representative this week, is arguably the top starting pitching prize available from an out-of-contention club.

Stroman is 28 years old. He makes up for a relative lack of strikeout stuff by inducing weak contact with the movement on his sinker, cutter and slider. And -- this is an important point -- Stroman is under contractual control through 2020. The left pectoral cramp that held him out of All-Star action is not expected to preclude him from making his scheduled start Sunday in the Bronx.

Keep up on all of the latest trade rumors

So Stroman is going to be a hot commodity these next few weeks, and a Blue Jays club in clear transition has ample reason to move him and acquire more controllable young talent to build around Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Here are the five teams with the most incentive -- and probably the best pieces -- to land Stroman:

1) Yankees

It’s the rumor that won’t die. And maybe we’ve seen Stroman (a Long Island native) and the Yankees linked so much in the rumor mill that it’s destined to not actually happen (things often tend to work that way, after all). But it does look awfully good on paper, and even Stroman sounded as if he were auditioning to wear the pinstripes when he told reporters last month, “New York’s like the Mecca of the world. I love excitement. I love bright lights. I love competition. I love pressure.”

The Yankees could get this done with a deal built around another obvious trade chip in outfielder Clint Frazier, who, incidentally, was drafted by the Indians at fifth overall when Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins were still a part of Cleveland's front office. Frazier, plus a pitching prospect of note (perhaps in the realm of the Yanks’ No. 10 prospect, Roansy Contreras) and another lower-profile prospect would seem to be a fair price.

2) Brewers

Look, the Brewers deserve a ton of credit for building their pitching staff their own way, and their unconventional lack of reliance on starters didn’t stop them from getting to Game 7 of the National League Championship Series last year. But the rotation is a screaming need at this Trade Deadline, and improving it could be a difference-maker in a congested -- and ultimately winnable -- NL Central. While Stroman might not be a pickup of the impact of CC Sabathia in 2008, the enthusiasm and passion he’d bring to the mound in Milwaukee would be similar.

The Blue Jays would likely want to start a deal with Keston Hiura, the No. 12 prospect in the game, per MLB Pipeline, because who wouldn’t? But shortstop Brice Turang (the Brewers’ No. 2 prospect and the No. 92 prospect in the game) would be a more reasonable starting point in a multiplayer package.

3) Astros

While Justin Verlander’s continued awesomeness earned him an All-Star starting assignment, Gerrit Cole is having a heck of a walk year and Wade Miley has been a positive pickup, the back end of the Astros’ rotation has not gone as planned this season. The internal impact Houston expected from prospects Forrest Whitley and/or Corbin Martin has not arrived, because both of those kids are on the shelf with injury (Martin is out until 2020 with Tommy John surgery).

So the rotation is definitely an area the Astros are trying to address prior to the Deadline. They like Stroman, and, for all we know (given their recent history), could have some trick up their sleeve to take his performance to another level. But they’d have to land him first. Martin would actually be an interesting trade chip if the Blue Jays were willing to be patient for him, but, in terms of healthier bodies, a deal beginning with right-hander J.B. Bukauskas (No. 5 in Houston's system) and outfielder Seth Beer (No. 8) might make sense.

4) Twins

With a surprising surge to the top of the American League Central followed by a slight slump late in the first half, it will be interesting to see how aggressive the Twins get in augmenting their pitching staff between now and July 31, and which specific area they address the rotation, the bullpen or both?

Minnesota has been tied to both Stroman and his Toronto teammate Ken Giles in the rumor mill, and a package deal is logistically and fiscally feasible for a Twins team with a strong farm system, the financial resources to add to their payroll and, of course, plenty of incentive to nail down their first division title in nearly a decade (and for that matter prop themselves up for what could be another inevitable October date with the Yankees). And with three of their starters approaching free agency, a controllable asset like Stroman might make more sense than an expiring one like Bumgarner.

You’d have to imagine the Twins aren’t going to part with their No. 1 prospect, shortstop Royce Lewis, or their No. 2 prospect, outfielder Alex Kiriloff. Right-hander Brusdar Graterol could potentially headline a standalone deal for Stroman or a package that includes Giles.

5) Padres

A few different teams could fill this spot. The Phillies certainly could use the help, but could they win a bidding war with so many areas to address at this Deadline? The Braves might make a rotation move even after signing Dallas Keuchel. The A’s or Rays could be sleepers. Lots of clubs will look into Stroman.

But we know the Padres checked in on Stroman last winter, and they’ve got Chris Paddack nearing an innings limit. With the NL West well out of reach and an NL Wild Card spot an iffy proposition, it’s hard to imagine this club aggressively pursuing a rental. But Stroman would help legitimize the playoff pursuit this year for a team on the rise and put San Diego in good position to be a genuine contender in 2020.

With a deep farm system, the Padres could have their pick of the litter at this Trade Deadline, if they choose. You’re probably not prying Mackenzie Gore or Luis Urias out of their hands in a Stroman deal, but San Diego has arms aplenty in its system -- Luis Patino, Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez and Ryan Weathers -- that could serve as the backbone in a deal.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.