Alex Anthopoulos was the general manager in Toronto when the Blue Jays selected Marcus Stroman in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft, when Stroman made his Major League debut less than two years later, and when the right-hander started the decisive fifth game of the 2015 American League Division Series.
Today, Anthopoulos is GM of the surprisingly competitive Braves. His team is interested in rotation help, following injuries to Brandon McCarthy, Mike Soroka and Max Fried. And one of the names on the Braves' pitching wish list isn't a surprise.
The Braves and Blue Jays have spoken about a possible Stroman trade, sources said Thursday, although there's no evidence of progress in those negotiations.
Toronto faces little urgency to trade Stroman, who won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season. But two factors could motivate the Blue Jays to consider a deal: This is a seller's market for starting pitchers, due to the low supply of high-end trade candidates; and the contentiousness of negotiations over Stroman's 2018 contract (which led to a salary arbitration hearing) suggests the sides may not reach a long-term deal in the near future.
While Stroman's overall numbers this season are the worst of his Major League career - a 5.42 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 3.5 BB/9 - more recent trends have been encouraging. In six starts since returning from the disabled list on June 23, Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA, and he has thrown seven innings in half of those outings.
Stroman, 27, spent a month-and-a-half on the DL this season due to right shoulder fatigue.
The Braves' farm system is especially deep in the pitching prospects the Blue Jays would want in any deal involving Stroman. According to MLB Pipeline, six of Atlanta's top eight prospects are pitchers: Soroka, Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson, Luiz Gohara, Touki Toussaint and Kolby Allard.