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Reaction Roundup: Mets acquire Marcus Stroman from Blue Jays

Instead of feeling good or bad about the trade, people are mostly just confused.

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Today, the Mets made the first big splash ahead of the 2019 trading deadline, acquiring Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays in exchange for Anthony Kay, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and cash considerations. Although the Mets had been connected with Stroman, it was mostly in the context of a potential three-team deal, with the intent of flipping him for prospects, or acquiring him as a replacement for Noah Syndergaard. As of right now, the Mets do not seem intent on flipping Stroman and the Syndergaard situation remains up in the air. There have been quite a few reactions to this trade and they seem to share one thing in common: a “What exactly are the Mets doing?” sentiment that is shared among both the fanbase and the industry. We’ve rounded up some of those reactions below.

  • The Athletic did a roundtable reaction with many of its writers, looking at the trade both from the Mets’ perspective and the Blue Jays’ perspective. Tim Britton remarked that the trade makes “little sense for the Mets’ competitive situation,” and drew comparisons between it and the Victor Zambrano trade in 2004.
  • Marc Carig, who is intimately familiar of many of the Mets’ idiosyncrasies, quoted a rival executive who called Brodie Van Wagenen a “disruptor.” On one hand, Carig opines, the trade is “reckless” as a win-now move. But on the other hand, it gives the Mets options moving forward.
  • Jayson Stark perhaps said it best: “Nobody can confuse an entire industry like the Mets.”
  • Similarly, Ken Rosenthal wrote, “I can’t figure it out. No one in baseball can.”
  • From the Jays’ perspective, Katilyn McGrath of The Athletic Toronto relayed the feelings of the fanbase—knowing this was an inevitability to help rebuild for the future, but mourning the loss of a fan favorite.
  • Andrew Stoeten, also of The Athletic Toronto, pointed out that the Jays perhaps did not see Stroman and his boisterous personality as “the right fit for the particular culture they’re trying to cultivate in Toronto,” which is interesting as it feels eerily similar to what the Mets may be saying about Syndergaard, should they turn around and deal him. Stoeten also discussed confusion regarding the Mets’ intent on the part of the Blue Jays universe as well, but called the return “an impressive infusion of talent into the Jays’ minor-league system.”
  • Eno Sarris dug into what may be the Mets’ thought process by capitalizing the market’s value on fastball velocity and strikeout rate by buying on a pitcher like Stroman that does not fit that profile, while dealing away a pitcher like Syndergaard, who does, while replacing Syndergaard with roughly the same output from a results perspective.
  • There is a sense among the industry that the Mets have acquired Stroman in order to corner the market on pitching, hoarding the chips all of the contending teams want in order to get the return they would like. “They’ve hijacked the market,” Jeff Passan reported.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post also invoked the Victor Zambrano/Scott Kazmir trade, but pointed out that the optimist would say “neither Kay nor Woods-Richardson are viewed nearly as well as Kazmir in 2004.” However, he, along with many others, pointed out the fact that Stroman is a strange fit for the Mets in the sense that he is an extreme ground ball pitcher and the Mets have statistically the worst infield defense in baseball.
  • Andy Martino of SNY was not surprised by this move by the Mets, saying that Brodie Van Wagenen is “blurring the line between buying and selling,” as he has not been afraid to employ as a strategy in the past. He also reports that Syndergaard is now less likely to move at the deadline than Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas.
  • Michael Baumann of The Ringer echoed the sentiments of many, calling the trade “super weird” and going on to say “it’s no longer clear what the Mets believe their competitive window is.” He pointed out that while Stroman many not be a “capital A Ace,” he has been remarkably consistent over his career. And Baumann believes what the Mets gave up to get him was not substantial. However, going beyond the players themselves, he writes, “every added layer of context beyond that causes this trade to make less sense.”
  • Jay Jaffe of Fangraphs wrote that this move will need to be evaluated in the context of what comes next for the Mets. He believes the Mets may be “in the midst of misreading the current landscape,” but feels Stroman will certainly help the Mets, whatever that may mean.
  • The title of Barry Petchesky’s reaction piece at Deadspin says it all: “Marcus Stroman Traded To New York...Mets? That Can’t Be Right.” He also discussed the irony of Stroman’s New York roots paired with the Yankees’ desperate need for starting pitching only for Stroman to end up in Queens instead.
  • Joseph D. Sullivan of Newsday thinks that Stroman’s swagger makes him a perfect fit for the bright lights of New York.