Marcus Stroman may not have pitched for the Mets in 2020, instead opting out over COVID-19 concerns after he recovered from an injury. But his time in New York isn't over. On Wednesday, Stroman announced on Twitter he would be accepting the qualifying offer, keeping him around for the 2021 season at a cost of $18.9 million.
Stroman, 29, has compiled a 4.05 ERA since the start of the 2018 season. He's thrown 286 innings in that period, and has amassed a 2.51 strikeout-to-walk ratio. For his career, he has a 3.76 ERA (113 ERA+) and a 2.85 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Stroman tends to rely on three pitches: his low-90s sinker, a mid-80s slider, and a low-90s cutter.
Stroman had been one of the top free agents available. We here at CBS Sports ranked him as the fifth-best player and second-best pitcher on the market. Here's what we said:
Here's a fun fact: Stroman has a lower career ERA+ than Bauer does. He's lower on the list because he's likely to receive a smaller contract for a number of reasons, beginning with his pitching style. Stroman isn't a high-strikeout or high-whiff pitcher; he's more of a contact manager who has coerced 60 percent or more groundballs in four of his past five seasons. As Dallas Keuchel, among others, have shown: strikeouts get you paid. Stroman's peaks haven't been quite as high as Bauer's, either. Oh, and Stroman also didn't pitch in 2020, opting out after he recovered from a torn calf muscle, albeit not before he had amassed enough service time to qualify for free agency. Teams were, presumably, not as amused by his Labor King antics as everyone else, but whatever; live, laugh, love, and know your worth. Stroman seems to know his, and it's equivalent to a good starting pitcher, even if he's the second-best one available.
The Mets can now be expected to field a rotation that is built around Jacob deGrom and Stroman. Rookie left-hander David Peterson likely did enough to earn a nod in the Opening Day rotation, meaning the Mets will have to figure out what to do with their other two spots. It seems unlikely that they'll enter the season without making any further additions, meaning there might not be room for Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman in the starting five. Noah Syndergaard, for those wondering, underwent Tommy John surgery late last March; he might not be a realistic option until deeper into the season.
The Mets are expected to be players for any number of big-time names, ranging from free agents like George Springer and J.T. Realmuto to trade targets like Francisco Lindor and Kris Bryant. That excitement and promise has been summoned primarily by the recent ownership transfer that saw Steve Cohen take the reins from the Wilpon family.
Stroman then tweeted the following to Steve Cohen: "After watching the presser, I'm beyond excited to play for you sir. I could feel the excitement and passion you're going to bring daily. Let's go be great!"