The Mets need starting pitching. Once upon a time, this was a franchise known for starting pitching beginning with the Franchise himself: Tom Seaver. In the recent and more relevant past, there was a dream of five aces, a 2015 World Series run, and a 2016 Wild Card appearance. Even when the Mets fell off a cliff between 2017 and 2019, they still had their starting pitching. That’s not true anymore. Jacob deGrom is brilliant, but he stands alone. Zack Wheeler was foolishly left in the wind when he reached free agency (FA) in 2019, Steven Matz is now a home run machine, Noah Syndergaard will just be coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2021, and Matt Harvey, sadly, is gone and, even more painful for him, no longer good at pitching.

Now, it’s October 2020 and the Mets have a new owner-to-be in billionaire Steve Cohen. While the New York Post indicates his plan to invest heavily in analytics​1, there is room to buy starting pitching in FA. That brings us to Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman. There appears to be a ramp up in Mets fans wanting the team to go after Bauer​; however, the better choice is Stroman.

Both pitchers are 29 with similar career statistics if you review their Baseball-Reference page (ERA 3.90 for Bauer, 3.76 for Stroman). Bauer is the favorite for the 2020 NL Cy Young Award (ERA 1.73). However, one can argue that working out of the NL Central in this regional-centric season helped him quite a bit considering he had to face such juggernauts as the Kansas City Royals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Detroit Tigers, and the Milwaukee Brewers. Moreover, there are allegations regarding his spin rate increase this year being a tad suspect.​

Stroman didn’t pitch this year due to an injury and, then, he opted out in this pandemic-shortened season related to COVID-19 concerns. While he only started 11 games and was merely mediocre for the Mets in 2019, there’s no reason to believe he can’t come back to the team ready to go in 2021 as a two or three starter. While he could use better defense behind being a more ground ball pitcher, he’s also as athletic as they come as a pitcher. He’s fun to watch. Both Bauer and Stroman are expressive on the mound, which is a nice contrast with the more stoic deGrom.

Bauer’s MLB experience is mostly in the Midwest with the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds. Stroman played for the Toronto Blue Jays, but he’s from Long Island and has experienced the harsh New York media for the last year plus. Thus, one might wonder if Bauer could handle New York. While both pitchers have a strong social media presence. Stroman brings fun, a social conscience, and argues a bit with fans, but nothing outlandish. Bauer is different.

Bauer goes after MLB quite a bit on Twitter and he’s been elevated by baseball media for being outspoken. He’s pointed out problems with MLB regarding Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Houston Astros cheating scandal, and MLB’s inability to grow their own game.

However, Bauer’s Twitter presence goes beyond just being outspoken on MLB issues. MLB is a powerful entity that can handle one of their stars tweaking them even if they don’t like it. On the other hand, Bauer has developed an unfortunate habit of going after individuals who clearly have less power than MLB and himself. Bauer has over 380,000 followers on Twitter, but he has quote-tweeted, replied, and tweet-stormed people with considerably less followers and power when he disagrees with them. Anyone who knows Twitter knows how this works. An avalanche then falls on the less powerful person that was started by Bauer and then finished by his followers in 2019 and in 2020.​ Please note that the most recent incident occurred within the last week. Please also note that this writer got blocked by Bauer’s agent for responding to one of her tweets when she defended him.

If you were the new Mets owner and front office, would you want a Bauer headache you don’t need? No matter how much Bauer may enjoy attention, the New York media will be brighter and louder when it comes to social media fiascos. Bauer makes Stroman look like a sweet summer child, a Game of Thrones reference for the uninitiated.

While we are all Mets fans here, there are more important things in life than baseball. It’s true that some fans will just look at the baseball and not care about off-the-field factors. It’s tough as there are always players that make it very hard to root for the laundry. Sometimes, there are owners that make it difficult as well. No one knows that better than a Mets fan. We just got rid of the Wilpons and can look forward to something better.

So, for the love of more than just the game, let’s go with Stroman.

12 comments on “The complete game: Trevor Bauer vs Marcus Stroman

  • TJ

    I would be very leery of a long term commitment to either, but Stroman on a QO would work for me. Pitching markets are hard to predict, especially in the COVID-finances ERA, but a depressed market could make a Stroman-Mets one year reunion make sense for both parties.

    • Rae

      Why not sign James McCann to catch with Nido as the backup? Hire LaMaieu to play 3B, and install Cano/Davis as the DH. Neither can field well so they can share DHing with Alonso who should also be tried at 3B as he was a 3B man in HS and in the lower minors. Alonso can DH , play 1B when Smith needs a break too, and see if he can give LaMaieu a brake from playing 3B everyday. Forget Bauer, and go for steady quality pitchers. I think fellow NYer Jake Odorizzi would do well pitching for the Mets. He was injured last year but could return to form. Unfortunately Brodie traded away all of the quality minor league pitching prospects so the Mets will need to trade Conforto to obtain a couple of decent AA or AAA starting pitchers prospects. The Mets need to think about signing lefty and fellow NYer, James Paxton who has pitched well at Citifield with the Yankees. Last but not least the Mets need to jump on the Taijuan Walker bandwagon and sign him post haste.

  • Name

    No one has asked the question – Does Stroman even want to play next year?

    The virus isn’t going away in 6 months. Whether there will be a vaccine will be iffy. If there is one when will it be widely available and how much of the population will sign up to get it? I highly doubt before March though.

    Ill say he wouldn’t sign a 1 year deal and not play the full season, that wouldn’t be right and you might as well just not sign, but if you give him a multi year deal i could see him once again opting out to start the season and maybe he plays in the 2nd half. Maybe a team needs to build a COVID clause that allows the team to void the deal if he does so.

  • Steve S.

    Sign Bauer, Stroman, Walker, and E. Ramirez. The latter could start or be a long-man reliever (same for Lugo).

    Cost for 2021? About $50 million.

    Money coming off the “books” in 2021? Cespedes, Lowrie, Ramos, Porcello, Stroman, Marisnick, E. Ramirez, Hughes, Wacha, and I may be missing some. About $65 million.

    Arbitration raises? About $55 million.

    Also, non tendering/trading Matz, Gsellman, and Heredia saves bucks. Maybe $8 million.

    The luxury tax threshold is $210 million. So there’s plenty of money to go for the above pitchers, plus additional pitchers, a CFer (Springer!) and a defensive catcher. Plus Davis and Rosario could be traded for some of these needed pieces.

  • MattyMets

    Jennifer – fantastic post. I couldn’t agree more. One of the reasons my opinion often runs contrary to others on Mets360 is because I didn’t grow up playing Stratomatic. I grew up playing baseball and I’ve been coaching for years now. The back of the baseball card never tells the whole story. Maybe some day the sabermetricians will come up with an intangibles score. Numbers aside, think about what Curtis Granderson did for the clubhouse vs. George Foster or Jeff Kent. There’s a reason the Nationals won after Bryce Harper left. For all his talent, Bauer is a pain in the ass who alienates teammates and gets coaches fired. While this team has a few holes to fill talent wise, there’s a really nice chemistry in the clubhouse, especially now that Cespedes is gone. Stroman fits right in and with a stronger infield defense behind him he could be very effective for this team. More on this in my post this Friday.

    • Jennifer Corozza

      Thanks so much. I love a Grandy mention! Miss him so much just playing the game. Really enjoyed his lead off HRs. I hope the analytics staff never comes up with an intangible score. There has to be something they can’t touch and just about the athlete playing his game.

  • Metsense

    Bauer , at this time, is the better pitcher. Stroman is comparable career wise. Both would fill the #2 starter void. Stroman will be cheaper. Bauer’s salary is not justified for the value when comparing him to Stroham’s salary. Bauer is also a distraction. Let’s go with Stroman.

  • Mike W

    Thanks. great article. I really want players who are hungry to play a d hungry to play for the Mets. All I am reading about Bauer is not good.

    There is a large dearth in starting pitchers, with Bauer and Stroman being the top two. You know the Yankees will be going after both.

    I think the best idea proposed so far us the QO for Stroman.

    I think it could be wise to go for a back end starter like Tanaka or Quintana and then add one or two via trade. I am being repetitive, but I like Yarbrough from Tampa.

    I do think the Mets will shake up the lineup with trades. Some good players, but we dont have a good mix.

    I admire Tampa. Go to Bulls games in Durham for years. Always see the stock pile of talent in advance. They also make shrewd trades. BVW probably would have traded Glasnow and Meadows for Archer as well.

    I am really excited to see what Cohen starts building. I think Alderson will fo a better job by having more financial flexibility.

    • Jennifer Corozza

      Yes, I agree the best option if not going for FA (or just limited) is trading some of the excess offensive players for pitchers. It’s tough because you fall in love with some of these players, but also because I’m not sure what the Cohen/Alderson mindset is about winning now. I always come back to deGrom on that. That’s the deadline regarding winning now. So, if that’s how they see it, we don’t need Davis. Do we need both Smith and Alonso? If we keep the DH? Sure. Maybe the DH is a thing starting 2022, with 2021 as the gap year, but Smith is a guy who needs to play at least 5/7 games. If they don’t care about winning now, then they can play wait and see, but will that fly after the Wilpons?

  • Remember1969

    One more vote here for Stroman. Thanks Jennifer for explaining a lot of the baggage surrounding Bauer. I would emphasize that his 2020 year was 8 of 11 starts were against the Pirates (2), the Brewers (3), the Tigers (2) and the Royals (1). Against the teams that made the playoffs, he split two decisions against the Cubs and dropped his start to the White Sox. Of those 11 starts, only the White Sox had a full year team batting average over .245. The Brewers led the league in batter strikeouts. These were not the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, or Rays that he was pitching against. In my mind, the Cy Young (assuming he wins it) should have a big asterisk. Of the other 8 years he has pitched in the majors, he has had an ERA of under 4.18 once. Bauer is not the superstar pitcher many are believing him to be and should not get that kind of money.

    • Jennifer Corozza

      It’s like anything, you can’t unknow what you know. I hope they don’t go for Bauer. The only positive for me is starting pitchers only play every 5th day, but it would still be tough. I hope they start with Stroman and make some smart choices. I just wonder if Matz can somehow find himself. He might need a few pitching coaches.

  • Gary Seagren

    Love your post but my question is I’m a 73 year old Met fan from Brooklyn and would love to talk to you about the Mets. I live in Florida now and Met fans are few and far between. Strange story is my son-in-law manages a company owned by Adam Guttridge’s father and we’ve talked .

    Editor’s Note – Hey Gary, it’s a terrible idea to put your phone # in a public forum. I deleted it and hope you don’t get any calls from unwanted sources.

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