The Mets, who were expected to sell amiss another disappointing season, have reportedly shocked the baseball world by trading for Marcus Stroman. In return, the Blue Jays will get pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson. Marc Topkin and Jon Morosi reported the news first.
Despite being relatively close in the National League Wild Card standings at six games back, the Mets were expected to start their rebuild process. Instead, they get another arm in Stroman, who has had a nice bounceback year after struggling mightily in 2018. In 2019, he has a 2.96 ERA and accumulated 2.9 fWAR. However, a 3.52 FIP, 4.05 xFIP, and 4.39 SIERA suggest that regression might be in order for the 28-year-old right-hander. Additionally, his 56.3% groundball percentage and 27.0% flyball percentage do not bode well for a defense that ranks dead last in defensive value (-41.4).
The Blue Jays return in Kay and Woods Richardson provides relief to a pitching prospect crop that has been depleted since trading Matthew Boyd and Daniel Norris. Kay, a first-round pick that was recently recognized as the number four prospect in the Mets’ organization (according to MLB Pipeline), pitched to a dominant 1.49 ERA and 2.72 FIP in 12 Double-A starts this year. Since being called up to AAA, he has struggled, compiling a 6.61 ERA and a 6.23 FIP. Nonetheless, he will probably be MLB ready by next year. Woods Richardson, the 18-year-old Mets’ second-round pick in 2018, has underperformed in his 20 Single-A starts, as he has a 4.25 ERA, but a 2.55 FIP and 2.28 xFIP. A .356 BABIP, as well as a 49.3 groundball percentage, show that positive regression will probably be in store for him. For a pitcher like Stroman, this is a best-case scenario return for the Blue Jays.
The Mets trading for Stroman does not preclude deals taking place for current starters Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler. In fact, the Mets could easily flip Stroman to a contender in the next 72 hours. If they do wind up trading at least two of those three, then the Mets rebuild will still be in effect. But if they elect to stand pat, that means that they will have a very good starting rotation in Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz for 2020.
From the public eye, this move does not make a lot of sense. But if the Mets make the necessary corresponding moves, they will be a team to watch, contender or not, in 2020.
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