Red Sox could bring Marcus Stroman back to the AL East
Marcus Stroman opted-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, then bet on himself by accepting the qualifying offer from the Mets. That decision is about to pay off as he hits free agency without the burden of draft penalties limiting his market.
Stroman didn’t miss a beat when he returned this year, producing a 3.02 ERA and 1.145 WHIP in 33 starts.
He excels by limiting walks (2.2 BB/9) and home runs (0.9 HR/9) but Stroman’s strikeout rate has always underwhelmed. His 21.6 K% and 11.6% swinging-strike rate were both career-highs yet he remains a below-average strikeout pitcher.
Stroman is a groundball pitcher, ranking eighth among qualified starters with a 50.8 GB% this season. That’s a bit of a concern for a Red Sox team with a weak defensive infield. Boston would need to upgrade defensively for Stroman to be a viable target. Adding one of the elite shortstops on the free agent market and moving Xander Bogaerts to second base would be one way to achieve that goal.
The usual concerns about pitchers transitioning from the National League to face the deeper lineups of the American League where the designated hitter is utilized don’t apply to Stroman. He’s battled tested in the AL East after spending the first six years of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was an All-Star in 2019 before the Jays shipped him to the Mets at the deadline and he earned some Cy Young votes along with a Gold Glove in 2017.
MLB Trade Rumors predicts a five-year, $110 million deal for Stroman. That’s a fair price for a 30-year-old who has been fairly durable in his career. He’s not an ace but Stroman would make a strong No. 3 starter for the Red Sox. They were willing to pay Rodriguez $18.4 million if he accepted his qualifying offer so spending $22 million for a comparable pitcher isn’t unreasonable.