After missing out on Dallas Keuchel, reports suggest the Yankees could be looking within the AL East to acquire a starting pitcher. Ken Davidoff of The New York Post reported that they’ve “spoken with the Blue Jays” regarding their ace, Marcus Stroman — who would certainly be a nice addition, but is he really the answer to the Yankees’ problems?
Stroman, 28, is a New York native who was drafted 22nd overall by the Blue Jays in 2012 out of Duke University. After being called up in 2014, Stroman would go on to post a 3.65 ERA/2.84 FIP over 130.1 innings, earning himself an 11-6 record in his rookie season. Since then, he’s endured stretches of greatness and stretches of sub-par mediocrity.
In 2017, he pitched easily his best season to date. Over a full 33 starts, he went 13-9 with a 145 ERA+ (45 points above league average) across 201 innings. However, 2018 was a different story. Ailed by shoulder fatigue and blister issues, Stroman posted a 5.54 ERA (76 ERA+) in just 19 starts.
Now, in 2019, the 5’7″ right-hander seems to have re-found his form. Across 14 starts, he’s pitched to a 3.31 ERA/3.75 FIP/133 ERA+ over 81.2 innings. But is that really who the Yankees want to be their big acquisition to bolster their starting staff? A pitcher who, just last year, had an ERA over five? A pitcher who’s never seen a season where his K/9 finished above 7.7? Not to mention the injury history he’s dealt with.
Although, there are reasons to be for Stroman in pinstripes that should be pointed out.
The first one being that he owns a career ground ball rate around 60% which would consider him as a ground ball pitcher. It goes without saying as to why that equates to a good fit as a pitcher who would consistently pitch in Yankee Stadium.
Another would be for the fact, and it is a fact, that he is in the midst of a good season. If we knew for sure that he’d continue the success he’s seen so far into 2019, then it’d be a no-brainer to deal for him. The guy has been really good. But that’s the issue when I look at the big picture. Acquiring a starter who posted an ERA over 5.5 last year and who doesn’t necessarily have strikeout stuff — doesn’t seem too smart.
The lack of other options may certainly end up being the ultimate reason the Yankees acquire Marcus Stroman. Some other possibilities range from Madison Bumgarner to Mike Minor to even Max Scherzer, possibly. With that said, the trade deadline is over six weeks away and a lot can change. But what is certain is that the Yankees NEED starting pitching.