In his mind, Marcus Stroman is still considered the clear ace for the Blue Jays heading into this season.
Stroman also wants to be the No. 1 starter atop Toronto’s rotation for years to come. However, the right-hander expressed his displeasure with the Blue Jays on Sunday as far as their contract talks have been concerned, saying he had been “offered nothing” as far as a long-term deal by the club, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
“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." Marcus Stroman had some things to say this morning: https://t.co/5ldvFpNzKt #BlueJays— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) February 17, 2019
Davidi said in his report that an industry source “subsequently refuted Stroman’s claim that he hadn’t been offered a multi-year contract,” and followed up with a tweet that general Ross Atkins said he and the franchise have been in talks with Stroman and his agents from The Legacy Agency.
Ross Atkins declines to get into back-and-forth with Marcus Stroman about long-term offer: “Any negotiation, any discussion I’m not going to comment on. We’ve had lengthy discussions with Marcus’ representation.” #BlueJays— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) February 17, 2019
In fairness to the Blue Jays, it is reasonable that they may want to see more from Stroman, who is under contract this year and in 2020 — a year in which he is eligible for arbitration, before paying him a lot of money.
After all, the 27-year-old Stroman is coming off his worst season in the majors after posting a 5.54 ERA over 102 1⁄3 innings in his fifth big league campaign. However, a lot of his struggles in 2018 attributed to him missing time due to shoulder fatigue and batting a blister issue on his right middle finger.
When healthy, Stroman is one of the top pitchers in the AL. In 2017, Stroman put together a banner year in which the ace pitched to a 3.09 ERA and a 5.8 WAR with 164 strikeouts in 201 innings.
In arguing for Stroman, he is expressing to the Blue Jays his desire to pitch for them for his entire career, which is something to be said because Toronto is not exactly a franchise that is racking up World Series championships (two) or playoff appearances (seven), especially when it has to play against the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays in the rugged AL East. Stroman was on the Blue Jays’ teams that made back-to-back ALCS appearances from 2015-16, but the franchise has not made or won a World Series since 1993.
But after seeing guys like the Yankees’ Luis Severino and the Phillies’ Aaron Nola getting contract extensions this past week, it is understandable that Stroman wants to get paid now.