Toronto Blue Jays: Atkins and Shapiro era will be defined by Stroman trade

Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

While It is tough to judge the Toronto Blue Jays trading Marcus Stroman right now, it will eventually define Mark Shapiro, Ross Atkins’ legacy in Toronto.

On the very slim chance that you haven’t heard, the Toronto Blue Jays finalized a deal Sunday to ship staff ace Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets in exchange for LHP Anthony Kay and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson.

While the initial reaction to this trade brought mixed reviews from both Mets and Blue Jays fans, the deal has the potential to be the much-needed win that Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins and president Mark Shapiro need.

According to MLB Prospect Watch, Kay and Woods-Richardson are the fifth and seventh-ranked prospects respectively, in the Blue Jays’ system. Kay tore it up with double-A Binghamton in early 2019, earning him a promotion to triple-A Syracuse, where he posted a 6.61 ERA through seven starts. MLB Prospect Watch has his ETA set at 2020.

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Woods-Richardson, on the other hand, is a bit more of a work in progress. In 20 starts with class-A Columbia, Woods-Richardson has a record of 3-8 with an ERA of 4.25. His estimated ETA in the bigs is 2022.

Clearly, this move is one that jives with the Blue Jays’ scheduled competitive window. Front office hopes are that these arms will be developed and raring to go once the full complement of young players is hitting their collective stride.

Perhaps, more selfishly, Blue Jays brass is hoping for something else as well; that this trade can change the narrative surrounding their tenure.

With Alen Hanson not on the 40-man roster and sporting a batting average below the Mendoza Line in triple-A Buffalo, Derek Law having an inflated ERA over six in 33 big league appearances and Juan De Paula getting shelled in class-A Lansing before being demoted to rookie ball, the Kevin Pillar trade is looking more and more like a whiff every day.

If they don’t get a meaningful return for a young, entertaining and talented firecracker of a pitcher who wanted to stay in Toronto, then they might find themselves on the chopping block.

Although Stroman seemed to be yearning for a trip to another New York borough, a move to Queens can’t be all bad for the Long Island native. On top of playing for the team closest to where he grew up, Stroman’s new manager, Mickey Callaway, is a former pitching coach. Also, going from the number one home run park in all of baseball to the seventeenth doesn’t hurt.

While many questions remain about what direction the Mets are looking to go in with the acquisition of Stroman, the Blue Jays plugged their biggest hole. Whether they know it or not, at least a few careers rest on the shoulders of Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson.

In 2012, the Blue Jays and Mets combined for another trade. The Blue Jays got an aging R.A. Dickey. The Mets ended up with Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. If this trade is remembered as revenge for the Mets fleecing the Blue Jays back in 2012, then Atkins and Shapiro have done their jobs. If it is a repeat of that unfortunate deal, there might not be an Atkins and Shapiro to talk about anymore.

Next. Podcast: Marcus Stroman trade brings mixed reaction. dark

What are your thoughts on the Blue Jays trading Stroman? Do you think this management team should be given the benefit of the doubt? Let us know in the comments below.