As the clock ticks closer to the July 31 deadline, trade talk around the Toronto Blue Jays and starter Marcus Stroman seems to grow more intense.
But according to ESPN's Buster Olney, it's possible the Jays might not do as well as they'd like should they follow through and trade their ace.
Olney reports their asking price is high and that doesn't mesh well with what he calls a buyer's market on starting pitching.
"[The Blue Jays] haven’t done well on the trades, you can’t argue that. And based on the dynamic of buyer and seller and where the advantages lie at this point I think that if they were to trade Stroman before July 31 they would do okay. But I don’t think they’re going to make a killing based on how many pitchers there are available and how few buyers there are," Olney said Wednesday on First Up with Michael Landsberg and Carlo Colaiacovo on TSN 1050 Toronto.
So should the Blue Jays wait until the winter or next season considering Stroman is under club control through 2020?
“His trade value will immediately diminish one minute after the trade deadline on July 31 because for teams looking to acquire him, he can no longer affect two pennant races, he can only affect one in 2020," Olney said. "That’s the quandary I think Cleveland faces with Trevor Bauer. That’s the quandary the Diamondbacks face with Robbie Ray who is under control next year, and that’s what the Blue Jays face because there’s no question you might not get exactly what you want but you also know his value in the market will drop right away after the trade deadline and that would be reflected in any offers you get this winter."
“I would be intent on moving him and making my best deal. Perhaps with the Astros who seem to be the best ardent suitor at this point.”
“We’re certainly not going to create an earlier deadline and it’s not necessary that we get something done either. In the case of Marcus Stroman, I think one thing that hasn’t been brought up much is he has another year of control with the Toronto Blue Jays. So it’s not a player like J.A. Happ was a year ago who was on an expiring contract or Russell Martin was this year on an expiring contract. So every player is different and every situation is unique and putting timelines or deadlines on yourself doesn’t seem to be the smartest thing to do," Jays general manager Ross Atkins said Tuesday on OverDrive.
After throwing six solid innings Sunday against the New York Yankees, Stroman's next scheduled start projects to be Friday against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, though the day's pitcher is currently listed as "TBD."
Olney said he expects Stroman to make the start "unless the Blue Jays make a market change in their strategy in terms of what they're asking" for him.
The 28-year-old is 5-10 this season with an ERA of 3.25 over 19 starts. He has struck out 88 and allowed 107 hits over 110.2 innings pitched. He has been solid over parts of six seasons in Toronto, going 46-44 with an ERA of 3.82 since debuting at PNC Park in Pittsburgh in 2014.
The Jays will continue their series against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park on Tuesday.