New York Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman is the latest MLB player to opt out of the 2020 season amid COVID-19 concerns. Stroman announced his opt out decision Monday, citing "uncertainties" and "unknowns" regarding the pandemic. He called it a "collective family decision."
"It makes you realize how hard it is to make sure that everything is buttoned up, 24/7, from every angle," Stroman during a conference call (SNY video) referring to the Cardinals and Marlins COVID-19 outbreaks. "... There's just too many uncertainties, too many unknowns right now to go out there, and truly just put the health for my family and myself first and foremost."
Stroman, 29, has not pitched this season because of a calf injury suffered in summer camp. He threw two simulated games in recent weeks and was tentatively scheduled to throw another one Tuesday. Stroman is the second Mets player to opt out this month,. At least 21 MLB players have opted out to date.
The Mets acquired Stroman in a trade deadline deal with the Blue Jays last July. In the end, the Mets gave up promising pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson for 11 starts of Stroman, who went 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA following the trade last season.
"I can't say enough good things about this organization and my time here," he said Monday.
Stroman came into the season with five years and 148 days of service time (commonly written as 5.148). One hundred and seventy-two days equals a full year of service time, and because service time is prorated this year, Stroman only needed to spend nine days on the active roster or injured list to hit the six full years necessary for free agency. He did that and now he's opted out.
The Mets came into 2020 expecting Noah Syndergaard and Stroman to serve as their No. 2 and 3 starters behind two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom. Syndergaard needed Tommy John surgery in spring training and now Stroman has opted out, so the duo will throw zero innings in 2020.
New York's rotation behind deGrom is dicey at the moment. Rookie David Peterson has impressed, but Steven Matz and Rick Porcello have been more miss than hit, and Michael Wacha was recently placed on the injured list. Now the club can't look forward to Stroman returning soon.
The Mets are 7-9 through 16 games this season. Sportsline puts their postseason odds at 45.3 percent.