CLEVELAND -- Marcus Stroman was David Price's teammate for only 86 days, but those two-plus months were enough to leave a lasting impression.
Stroman and Price joined forces at the 2015 trade deadline when Toronto acquired the latter from Detroit in one of Dave Dombrowski's final moves as Tigers GM. They then helped the Jays reach the ALCS, where they lost to the eventual champion Royals in six games.
Four years later, Stroman lights up at the mention of Price's name, crediting the Red Sox left-hander for boosting his career.
"I love that man," Stroman said before the All-Star Game. "Everything about him. He just taught me that the game is much deeper than the game. He taught me about life, how he handles his family, his relationships, his people. He's just an unbelievable human being, which you don't find all the time. I can't say a bad word about Price.
"I can call him right now, he'd answer on the first ring. He's told me that whatever I need, he's a true friend of mine and I'm looking forward to having him in my life for the rest of my future."
The two have a bit of yin and yang to them. Price is 6-foot-5 and a former No. 1 overall pick out of powerhouse Vanderbilt in his home state of Tennessee. The 5-foot-7 Stroman hails from Long Island and was drafted at the end of the first round out of Duke.
Both have made their names in the American League East, and Stroman figures to be one of the most coveted starters on the market, with his hometown Yankees contenders to land the first-time All-Star, who is 5-9 with a 3.18 ERA. Stroman shrugs off the potential pressure of New York — "I'm scared of nobody," he said — and detailed what he learned from watching Price.
"Just how much of a workhorse you have to be," he said. "You have to be that guy to go out there and throw 200 innings, 33, 34, 35 starts, and be able to grind through whatever you're going through, when you have little aches and pains. You have to be that horse and that guy people look to to be the stopper."
Stroman's got a history with more than Price. He has jawed with the Red Sox this year, especially manager Alex Cora, but he believes the respect goes both ways between player, opponent, and even Red Sox fans. He said that he and Cora shared "a huge dap" at the All-Star Game to prove there are no hard feelings.
"It's just the Red Sox man," he said. "It's almost like you can get that playoff atmosphere even in the regular season, especially in Boston. It's a Monday, Tuesday night, everyone's yelling at you. The profanity they're yelling at you, I love it. It's hostile. It's fun. It makes the game really fun. They bring you up when you see the Red Sox as my opponent, it's like all right, I need to lock it in today.
"I know (the fans) respect me, and I know the Red Sox respect me as well. I'm cool with a lot of those guys. That's what people don't understand. In between those lines it's different, I'm a different person out there, I go to a dark place. It's like that killer mentality. Once I step back across that line, I'm not that guy. But I love playing against Boston."
He particularly loves the opportunity to see Price.
"If he pitched against me, I might root for him," Stroman said. "That's how much I love him. He deserves everything, every good thing coming for him. When he was a Blue Jay, that guy was on the top step every single inning when I was coming out, hyping me up, chatting me up, telling me I'm the man, fist-pumping me, and he told me to always remain myself — no matter what anyone says, he says, 'Stro, you always stay true to yourself.' Love that dude."
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