The Atlanta Braves have been linked with Marcus Stroman for several weeks now. Some thought Stroman’s start at Rogers Center on Wednesday was his last for the Toronto Blue Jays, but with a year left of club control, it is far from certain than the right-hander will be dealt before the 31st July trade deadline.
Stroman is enjoying a career year north of the border. His start on Wednesday lowered his ERA for the season below three.
The Braves have bucket loads of young pitchers and got a good return start from Kevin Gausman this week but adding an experienced starter for what looks like an inevitable postseason appearance seems an obvious move to make.
Gausman and Mike Foltynewicz – who isn’t even in the Majors at the moment – have had difficult seasons so far. Meanwhile, Max Fried has been good, Mike Soroka has been even better, and Dallas Keuchel has been solid in his seven starts.
Under control through 2020, Stroman could be the veteran leader of the staff when Keuchel hits free agency this offseason. There are few pitchers better suited to the brightest lights of October baseball either.
Whether Stroman is appropriate for Atlanta will (obviously) depend on the price. Unlike their rival Phillies, the Braves have been reluctant to deal prospects. The Blue Jays will be eyeing a similar return to what the Rays got for Chris Archer, and Atlanta shouldn’t go anywhere near that (it looked a bad trade for the Pirates at the time and it looks even worse now).
That feels like the sort of price where Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos will consider going through with a trade. Anthopoulos’ previous moves suggest that much more than that and he’ll walk away, and it’s hard to see Toronto trading away their ace and fan favourite Stroman without getting a top 100 prospect and a couple of other players.
The Braves aren’t desperate for a starter. They won’t be reckless with trading away their still deep farm. Stroman’s great season, experience and extra year of club control makes him an enticing option for Atlanta, however.
Others will be just as interested in Stroman, but if Atlanta want to make a move, they’re the best equipped to get a trade done. Anthopoulos will be wary of overpaying, though, and may well choose to ride out this season with Keuchel, Gausman, Fried, Soroka and a combination of their other arms.