The Blue Jays have traded right-hander Marcus Stroman to the Mets, as MLB.com’s Jon Morosi first reported on Sunday afternoon. The Blue Jays are getting back pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson in return, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal:
#BlueJays getting Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson for Stroman, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2019
The 28-year-old Stroman, who is in his sixth big-league season, made the AL All-Star team for the first time earlier this summer. He has a 2.96 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP over 21 starts (124.2 innings) this year.
This is an exceptionally odd move for a Mets team that is 50-55, six games out of the second NL Wild Card and potentially looking to deal starters Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler. For what it’s worth, though, Stroman has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining and the Mets have continually expressed a reluctance to go into full rebuild mode, so this is likely a move that is more focused on helping them compete next year than a move intended to help them this season.
Kay, a left-hander who is ranked as the Mets’ top pitching prospect by MLB Pipeline, was a first-round pick (31st overall) out of UConn in the 2016 draft but didn’t make his professional debut until last season due to Tommy John surgery. While the undersized 24-year-old is probably more of a high-floor, low-ceiling type than a future front-of-the-rotation starter, he has advanced rapidly through the minor leagues and has been pitching at Triple-A Las Vegas. After dominating to the tune of a 1.49 ERA and 0.82 WHIP over 12 starts at Double-A Binghamton, he had struggled since his promotion, posting a 6.61 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over seven starts. Those numbers shouldn’t be held too harshly against him, though, because Las Vegas has always been one of the most hitter-friendly environments in professional baseball, and that’s only become more of an issue this season with the Pacific Coast League adoping the major-league (probably juiced) ball.
Woods-Richarson, 18, was a second-round pick last summer out of Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas. The right-hander been solid but unspectacular (as should be expected out of an 18-year-old pitching in a full-season league) over 20 starts at Low-A Columbia this season, posting a 4.25 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP, 97 strikeouts, and just 17 walks over 78.1 innings. Obviously, despite his relative struggles with run prevention, those are really good peripherals that are extremely encouraging for a pitcher with as much upside as he has. Woods-Richardson is rated as the Mets’ No. 6 prospect and third-best pitching prospect by MLB Pipeline.
This will be an opportunity for Stroman, a Medford, New York native, to go home (for what it’s worth, he grew up a Yankees fan). If he continues pitching as well as he has this season, this move certainly has the potential to further amplify the star power of a pitcher who is unafraid of being active on social media, is boisterous on the field at times and plays perfectly into the “Let the Kids Play” campaign, and has been known to hop on songs with old Duke buddy Mike Stud from time to time.