No, the one in the middle.
It has seemed like it was imminent for a couple of days now, and it never should have been in any doubt given his college eligibility, but it’s finally official: the Jays’ draft strategy ran like a top, as they’ve now signed 22nd overall pick Marcus Stroman, the last remaining of their key early-round picks to have signed.
And who broke the news, you ask? Marcus Stroman. Oh, what a world!
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo7) July 3, 2012
I noted back on Friday that Stroman had some news for us, and again yesterday that he was on a plane somewhere, possibly Dunedin, both of which pointed to the possibility of this happening, but obviously there was no way for us to know for sure. But the thing always was, Stroman wouldn’t be doing himself any favours by not signing.
Even if he went back to school next year, stayed healty, pitched well, and moved up the draft board– none of which were givens– as a college senior he would not have had a whole lot of leverage to negotiate with the team he was drafted by. If he refused to sign whatever the club was offering, his only options would have been to go into non-affiliated baseball, like the independent leagues or Japan, and hope for yet another year of health, good performance, and that there might be a contract somewhere even farther down the line.
Clearly his best option was to take the money the Jays were offering and get his pro career started– especially since many evaluators have been saying that, if they wanted to, the club could have Stroman pitching in the Majors at some point this season, if they’re willing to use him out of the bullpen.
I tend to scoff at the notion of the Jays bringing Stroman straight up, or up very, very quickly, because I tend to believe that they’re smart enough to look out for his development first and foremost, rather than the flagging fortunes of the big league club, and that their philosophy seems to be to have pitchers remain starters for as long as possible before moving them to the bullpen. But it’s not like it would be entirely unprecedented for them to try something unorthodox with Stroman.
Chris Sale of the White Sox, for example, came up after seven minor league appearances in 2010, pitched out of the bullpen, and it doesn’t appear to have to have hindered him a lick. Mike Leake of the Reds went even straighter to the Majors, not playing a game of minor league ball, though his pro career started the year after he was the 8th pick of the 2009 draft, because of the old, late signing deadline.
I couldn’t put a guess on what his ETA is, but it would seem really out of character for the Jays to have him up almost immediately. So some fans are going to have to just keep on dreaming about this one.
Interestingly, Keith Law adds, via Twitter, that Stroman signed for $1.8-million– which is exactly slot money. So, perhaps the Jays aren’t even done, as Jim Callis tweeted yesterday that the Jays had $2,131,340 of their bonus pool left to offer him before incurring any penalties. Subtract $1.8-million, and there’s still $331K left to sign one or more of their still-unsigned post-tenth-round picks– like, as I’m sure all you maple dicks are already thinking, Whitby’s Ryan Kellogg.
Scoffing aside, though, wouldn’t it be crazy if they could work one of those guys into the equation too? I mean, it’s already looking like a stellar draft, just for how they went with so much upside early, and have now managed to actually get them all signed.
No, it doesn’t make the current team any more damn watchable, but it really is pretty terrific– especially since their whole strategy was pretty much a giant “fuck you” to the asinine restrictions placed on draft spending under the terms of the new CBA. Suck it, Bud.
Image via Twitter.