So many questions to ask about Mets' surprise trade for Marcus Stroman

So many questions to ask about Mets' surprise trade for Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman has started against the Phillies just once in his career, pitching a seven-inning gem in June 2016. 

He figures to face them many more times following Sunday’s trade. Stroman was dealt from the Blue Jays to the Mets in exchange for two of New York’s top pitching prospects. 

It was a surprising move by the Mets, whose interesting trade deadline path we explored 24 hours earlier. Which trade(s) the Mets make next will go a long way in determining the logic and value of this Stroman acquisition, at least initially. 

First-year GM Brodie Van Wagenen is not finished. One or both of Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard figure to be traded. So do one or both of Todd Frazier and lefty starter Jason Vargas. Frazier is a free agent at the end of the season and Vargas is owed $8 million next season before becoming a free agent. 

Syndergaard tweeted this shortly after the Stroman trade went down. 

Reactions were mixed. Some questioned a package headed back to Toronto that was perceived to be light. Some acknowledged this was the best the Blue Jays could do in a trade market where so many front offices think the same way, have similar valuations of veterans and cling more dearly to their prospects than ever before. 

As with most trades like this, a proper judgment can’t be formed for several years. 

The bigger question now is: What are the Mets trying to accomplish?

This was not a move made to lead them to the 2019 playoffs. It is about the future. Stroman offers the Mets protection in their rotation if/when they lose Wheeler and Vargas and in case they receive an offer for Syndergaard they cannot refuse. In that regard, it makes sense. It’s forward-thinking. You need more than Jacob deGrom and four question marks in the rotation. The Phillies have learned that painful lesson this season with Aaron Nola and little else of real value in the starting staff. 

Stroman is a very good pitcher in the tier below “ace.” He is a contact pitcher, albeit one who generates a ton of weak contact on the ground. In the year of the home run, he has allowed just 10 in 125 innings. The low home run rate is why Stroman has been able to avoid big damage with traffic on the basepaths and why he’s been able to maintain a 2.96 ERA despite pitching at hitter-friendly Rogers Centre and facing the AL East titans so frequently. 

Of Stroman’s 21 starts this season, two were against the Red Sox, one was against the Yankees and one was at Coors Field. His ERA in those four starts was 2.52 and all four were quality starts. 

He also faced the Twins once and the A’s twice, two more offenses better than the majority of lineups he will face in the National League. It stands to reason that in the easier league, in a much bigger ballpark at Citi Field, Stroman can be even better. 

There is also a possibility he is better than Syndergaard, period. Syndergaard has the arsenal scouts and GMs dream about. But that arsenal does not lead him to success as often as it should. Syndergaard this season has been more hittable than ever with a declining rate of strikeouts. He is always a liability with men on base because of how easy it is to run on him. 

Yet the market values pitchers like Syndergaard above pitchers like Stroman because, again, so many front offices are focused and obsessed with the same skill sets. Stroman’s skill set is more underrated. 

Perhaps Van Wagenen can turn Syndergaard into prospects better than the ones he just traded to Toronto. At that point, the evaluation of the Stroman trade would be contingent upon who pitches better the next few years, Stroman or Syndergaard. 

The trade deadline is two days away. 

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Phillies trade for intriguing lefty pitcher, add four arms to 40-man roster

Phillies trade for intriguing lefty pitcher, add four arms to 40-man roster

The Phillies added four pitchers to their 40-man roster on Wednesday night, including Cristopher Sanchez, who was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sanchez, 23, is a 6-5 left-hander from the Dominican Republic who pitched mostly at the Single A level in 2019. The Rays were out of room on their 40-man roster and believed Sanchez would be lost in next month's Rule 5 draft so they peddled him to the Phillies for infielder Curtis Mead, a 19-year-old from Australia who played in the Gulf Coast League last summer.

Sanchez will come to big-league spring training camp in February, but he needs more development time in the minors as he has pitched just 1 1/3 inning above the Single A level. Sanchez' fastball can reach 97 mph. The Phils might have something if the lanky lefty can put it together.

The Phillies also added JoJo Romero, Garrett Cleavinger and Mauricio Llovera to the roster. Romero and Cleavinger are both lefties and Llovera is a power-armed right-hander. All three could figure in the big club’s bullpen picture at some point in 2020.

Romero, 23, was the Phillies’ fourth-round draft pick in 2016. He struggled as a starter at Double A and Triple A in 2019, but pitched well out of the bullpen in Arizona Fall League, giving up just one earned run in 10 2/3 innings.

Cleavinger, 25, was a third-round pick by the Orioles in 2015. The Phillies acquired him for Jeremy Hellickson in the summer of 2017. Cleavinger has strikeout stuff — he punched out 83 batters and allowed just 32 hits in 51 2/3 innings at Double A Reading in 2019 — but control is an issue as he walked 34.

Llovera, who turns 24 in April, has long impressed club officials with his power arm. He struck out 72 in 65 1/3 innings at Reading in 2019.

Players added to the 40-man roster by Wednesday’s deadline cannot be selected in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings next month. The Phillies’ roster stands at 39.

The Phillies left a couple of notable young players unprotected. Catcher Rafael Marchan and power-hitting outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz will both be eligible for the Rule 5 draft. If selected by another club, they must spend the entire season in the majors. Both Marchan and Ortiz will play at 21 next season. Neither has played above the Florida State League and both are in need of more development time so the Phillies stand a good shot of hanging on to both.

Ortiz made headlines in the summer of 2015 when the Phillies signed him out of the Domincan Republic for $4 million. He has big power — 19 homers at Single A Clearwater in 2019 — but contact is an issue. He has racked up 297 strikeouts in 835 at-bats while hitting just .212 the last two seasons at the Single A level.

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These ugly Cowboys-looking Phillies hats have Philly fans freaking out

These ugly Cowboys-looking Phillies hats have Philly fans freaking out

Remember back on Phillies opening day 2019 when the team used a logo extremely similar to the Dallas Cowboys' star on the jumbotron and everybody freaked out?

Well, it seems we have a reprise of that situation today but in hat form.

We bring these questionable caps to you today via a reddit post aptly titled, "On no.... please god no..." which shows images of a new Philadelphia Phillies hat made by New Era that is currently being sold.

Philly fans absolutely hate it. Not only does it cloesly resemble the Dallas star, it's also just kind of ugly.

the front:

The hat is part of the New Era Elements Collection where they take something smaller from the team's actual logo and make it the main thing on a hat. The Cincinnati Reds used a mustache which is awesome. The Baltimore Orioles' smily bird looks pretty cool.

And then there's this very bad Phillies hat.

It's pretty obvious they are highlighting the star from the middle of the 'P' which is blown up on the front of the cap and featured relatively normal size on the back of the fitted cap, but it's still way too similar to the Dallas Cowboys' star for most in Philadelphia's liking.

The back:

It's unclear if these hats will ever get anywhere near the actual baseball team. Let's hope not.

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