A good portion of people commends Marcus Stroman for putting his health and family first by opting out this season rather than pitch a game for the Mets – they are not wrong.
A fair portion of Mets fans criticized Stroman for quitting on the Mets by not throwing a pitch and using COVID-19 as an excuse to not pitch this season – they are not wrong.
The Mets lost Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery during the pandemic, and they lost Zack Wheeler to free agency. They hoped Stroman could fill the void of being the No. 2 starter with Syndergaard out for the season, but instead he spent time on the injured list with a torn left calf muscle. He decided to milk the injury as long as he could to accrue service time of being a free agent this offseason, and he exercised his right to opt-out on Monday as soon as he collected his service time.
He left the Mets hanging. There’s no other way to say it. Sorry that it sounds cruel and harsh, but this whole thing seems so convenient for him to bail. With the Mets being awful, he did not want to risk pitching hurt and losing value in the free agency market. He wants to get paid like a top starter.
He certainly won’t get it from the Mets, and he shouldn’t. He did nothing for them to earn what he thinks he is going to get in the open market. He left them hanging after the Mets gave up Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson for him in the trade deadline. The Mets acquired him to help them make a push for the wild-card run last season and to be insurance in the starting rotation this season in the event Wheeler left. The Mets received no dividends out of Stroman on either front.
The Stroman trade along with acquiring Edwin Diaz and washed-up Robinson Cano put beleaguered Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen in a rough spot. Van Wagenen acquired them as an attempt to be bold in making the team a playoff team with Jacob deGrom in his prime. The MLB computer picks even backed him on the decision. Instead, it fizzled, and everyone now questions the Mets general manager’s chops for the job.
If Van Wagenen gets fired by whoever owns the Mets, these ill-advised trades will be the reason. He knew the Mets were not in a position to trade their best prospects for guys who quite frankly are not good enough to lead them to a playoff appearance. He did it anyway just to show he was in it to win it. It was reckless.
Van Wagenen should feel betrayed by Stroman. He put his faith in him by trading for him, and this is what he gets in return.
Sure, the Mets general manager gets what he deserves, but it does not make it any right on Stroman’s part here.
Somehow if the Mets played like a World Series contender, Stroman would find a way to pitch this season. Even better, if he pitched for the Yankees, he would not even be opting-out. If he sincerely wanted to opt-out for COVID-19 reasons, he would have done it in the beginning, not now when the Mets are a mess on the field.
Rumors circulated Stroman threw a fit when he found out the Toronto Blue Jays traded him to the Mets than to the Yankees, his preferred choice. People don’t forget stuff like that, and that’s why Mets fans should be bothered about him opting-out since he did not have it in his heart to pitch for the Mets this season.
It’s easy to call him out since he decided to play it out and wait until he accrued his service time before he made his decision. It sounds so shady. He basically pulled a Yoenis Cespedes by quitting rather than sticking it out.
He likely pitched his last game with the Mets without throwing a pitch this season. He will be remembered more for opting-out than any of his 11 mediocre starts last season.
Fair or not, perception becomes reality when it comes to Stroman’s intent.
He couldn’t care less obviously since he made that decision. It’s not his problem. Some team will be stupid enough to overpay him because starting pitching is at such a premium. He may be the second-best starter in the market with Trevor Bauer being the best of the bunch in the market. He will be laughing when he gets his money.
Despite all that, his own teammates know he quit on them.
That’s something his future teammates will keep in mind when the going gets tough.
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