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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Is Marcus Stroman A Good Option?

by Paul Semendinger

January 10, 2024

***

It seems there are a host of conflicting reports on Marcus Stroman...


Some say he's interested in the Yankees, but the Yankees are not interested in him.


Some say there is a mutual interest from both parties.


Who knows the truth? The bigger question is...


Should the Yankees actually consider signing Marcus Stroman?


The Good:

  • Stroman's career ERA+ is 116. For his career, he's been a better than average pitcher.

  • In his nine-year career, Stroman has had an ERA+ under 100 only twice, in 2016 and 2018. In short, that's a nice career, thus far. On a year-to-year basis, and in every season since 2018, he's been an above-average pitcher. There is value in that.

  • In every season since 2018, he had put up a positive WAR as well.

  • The Yankees need someone who they can rely on to give them starts, Stroman does that. In every season beginning in 2019 (he sat out the 2020 season) Stroman has given his team at least 25 starts.

  • Stroman strikes out just about 8 batters for every 9 innings pitched.

  • His lifetime ERA of 3.65 is solid


The Not-So-Good

  • For the last few years, Stroman, entering his age-33 season, has regressed. His ERA is trending up:

    • 2021 = 3.03

    • 2022 = 3.50

    • 2023 = 3.95

  • His innings pitched are going down:

    • 2021 = 179

    • 2022 = 138.2

    • 2023 = 136.2

  • He didn't have a great second half last year. In the first half, batters hit .205 against him. In the second half, they batted .327!

  • Many people state that pitchers wins don't matter and that most of the time a win is out of the pitcher's control (in large part). While that has some truth to that, great pitchers tend to win games. Stroman doesn't. In recent years, the following are his wins and losses:

    • 2019: 10-13

    • 2021: 10-13

    • 2022: 6-7

    • 2023: 10-9


My Thoughts:


I haven't followed Stroman's career all that closely, but he seems to be a player who brings a level of controversy with him. In the past, he has besmirched the Yankees according to some reports. Now, supposedly, he wants to pitch for them. Might that be because no other team wants him?


Marcus Stroman could be acquired, it seems, on a one-year deal. If this occurred, in essence, he'd be pitching for his future, and at 33-years-old, he would have to be focused on being great because it is likely is best years are behind him and if he wants to keep playing, he'll need to be good. (I wouldn't sign him for more than one year considering his second half last year.)


Stroman is a solid pitcher, he's as good a pitcher as a team could reasonably hope for as their #5 guy.


All-in-all, it seems to be a complete mixed bag.


If the Yankees acquire Stroman after they sign or trade for another quality starting pitcher, I wouldn't hate seeing what he can do on a "prove-it" deal. But, I would much prefer the following pitchers (all rumored to be available) before seeking to acquire Marcus Stroman:


Blake Snell

Corbin Burnes

Jesus Luzardo

Shane Bieber

Dylan Cease

(Yes, Jordan Montgomery, too, but I can't see him returning.)


Bottom line - the Yankees need to go for it in 2024. In order to win, they need quality pitching. They haven't gotten it yet. Expecting Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes to both bounce back is expecting a lot. Expecting Clarke Schmidt to do what he did last year after he threw so many innings -more than he ever had - is expecting a lot. Counting on a rookie to make the rotation and pitch well is expecting even more. A case man be made that the Yankees could use three starting pitchers, but it's clear to me they need at least two. I'd rather one of those two not be Marcus Stroman...


If all the other options are exhausted and unavailable, than, sure, he'd be fine. The Yankees have to do more than fine though. Two years ago, Stroman would have been a good pitcher to gamble on. Today, seeing how his career is trending - not so much.


The Yankees can do better - more, they have to do better.

31 Comments


Mark Reyer
Mark Reyer
Jan 10

I like Stroman as a middle to back of the rotation guy. He's a ground ball pitcher. Which do well in Yankee stadium. He was hurt for most of last year, but he pitched through it. He's extremely competitive. Yes he speaks his mind. I haven't heard anything terribly offensive from Stroman. What he said about the Yankees is something to the effect, "For a team that spends more than any other in the league, they have little to show for it lately". Not a quote but that was the gist. Maybe since it came from a player from another team that offended some Yankee fans. Not me, I agree with him. I think most of us ag…

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Jan 10

I had a nightmare last night that the Yankees signed Stroman, Bauer, Urias, German, Donaldson and Hader. Thankfully, I woke up and was able to have a good morning.

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Jan 11
Replying to

I will JJ! But tell me, how much longer must I hang in until our Yankees win a championship? Is 2024 the Year?

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Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
Jan 10

Marcus Stroman is a complete "no" for me. The New York Yankees are a class organization and Stroman, unfortunately, is not a class person. He makes opposing players including former teammates angry at him.


I have never forgotten what Stroman said when the Blue Jays traded him to the Mets instead of to the Yankees, which is where he preferred to go at the time. Around the 2019 trade deadline, when Stroman ended up with the Mets, Brian Cashman said he did not think Stroman would be a “difference-maker” and would be in the bullpen by the postseason. Stroman did not forget and wrote some now-deleted tweets about the organization. Said Stroman:

“Besides Cole, there’s no current Yankee pitcher who…


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Melfman1
Melfman1
Jan 10
Replying to

I get it, to an extent. But I think that’s a little hypocritical considering some of the former Yankee acquisitions of the past. David Justice, Aroldis Chapman, Jimmy Cordero, Domingo German, etc etc. Just like every other franchise, the Yankees are not saints.

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Mike Whiteman
Jan 10

I really like Stroman…on a one year deal to be a #4 or #5 guy. If he’s “the” addition, then that’s disappointing.


I find myself coming around on Snell. He’s been a good pitcher not just last year but the past two seasons. He has a rep as a 5 - inning guy, but last year he was tenth in NL innings pitched and went 6+ innings in 20 of his 32 starts.

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Mike Whiteman
Jan 11
Replying to

Unfortunately, the likelihood is that someone will have to extend beyond what they're comfortable with in order to hopefully get a few productive years. I think five years will be the shortest he'll agree too, maybe with an elevated annual salary.

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fuster
Jan 10

If the Yankees acquire Stroman after they sign or trade for another quality starting pitcher


correct evaluation, but not necessarily the correct sequencing.


again, I would remind everyone that Boras is not going to encourage his clients to do anything other than wait

and allow the buyers to become anxious.


signing a less desirable free agent pitcher at a reasonable price is a method of reducing anxiety and demonstrating a lack of desperation.


the Yankees are better served by signing Snell than by signing Stroman (and I'm no great fan of Marcus) but signing the little guy now does not necessarily exclude signing the big guy later.


I would srgue that it markedly improves the Yankees' bargaining position for either…

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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Jan 11
Replying to

Yes, I think it is possible that the Yankees actual interest in Stroman either doesn't exist or is smaller than their interest in a more accomplished hurler - despite that they're thinking about signing him. It all may "add up" eventually. We'll have to wait and see.


Stroman is actually rated as the 8th best free agent available. He does produce ground balls and beyond that, he actually does have some Stat Cast oomph that shows his stuff is quite good and he's typically not overly vulnerable to left-handed batters either.


He'd make a perfectly serviceable back of the rotation starter on a team like the Yankees. However, if Stroman is the only cat the Yankees sign for the rotation,…


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