In seven starts since returning from the DL on June 23, Marcus Stroman has averaged over 6 innings per start and has a 2.98 ERA.

Why is it that every season around this time, GM’s come out of the woodwork asking about Marcus Stroman’s availability?  What do they think we’re stupid?!

The idea of trading a great player years before they even hit free agency is something teams should avoid doing like the plague.  Why the A’s ever traded Josh Donaldson with four years of team control never ceases to amaze me.  The Blue Jays aren’t about to start this sort of thing with their players.  Especially a 27-year old starting pitcher who when healthy, should be a Cy Young candidate every year.

I can count on one hand the number of pitchers the Blue Jays have developed over their 40+ year history who’ve been as good or better than Stroman.  Players like him just don’t come around all that often.

Looking at Toronto’s depth chart with respect to starting pitchers, they’re going to need Stroman badly to lead this rotation over the next two seasons.  Especially next year considering that so many of Toronto’s better pitching prospects (e.g. Nate Pearson, T.J. Zeuch, Eric Pardinho) are still at least another year from being ready for the big leagues.

As for Stroman’s less than stellar 5.20 ERA.  Well, he wasn’t healthy to begin the season and probably shouldn’t have even been playing.  Since returning from the DL on June 23, we’ve seen how much better Stroman can be when healthy (7 starts, 2.98 ERA).  Stroman is a rare kind of pitcher in today’s game.  An innings eater…capable of actually pitching complete games.  And the best part is, who knows just how good he’ll get with a few more years experience under his belt.

Understandably, some fans have been put-off by Stroman’s perceived attitude problems.  I know at times I have.  But that same attitude and aggression can often come in handy when going up against the level of competition the Blue Jays are facing in the AL East.  I don’t agree with everything Stroman says and does, but he gives the Blue Jays an edge.  And on a team with so many nice guys, Stroman’s intensity can’t be overlooked.

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