Marcus Stroman Accepts Qualifying Offer, Returns to Mets

In the first major news for the Mets since Steve Cohen’s approval, Mets RHP Marcus Stroman has accepted the qualifying offer at 1 year, $18.9 million. There were questions whether Stroman would take the deal, however, it seems that the Mets new owner had something to do with that.

Stroman Impressed With New Owner 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!,” Steve Cohen’s first press conference as Mets owner went as sound  can be. He discussed many topics, including his plans to win now and in the future. He alluded that the team will spend like a big market team, but not like a “drunken sailor.” This has surely gotten Mets fans excited and hopeful for what is to come,

It seems that the excitement has trickled down to the players as well. Stroman’s tweet shows that he’s excited to get going under the new regime. Also, after opting out of the 2020 season, he will use this season to rebuild his value. He will now be a free agent again following his age-30 season. In addition, Stroman also alluded to accepting the qualifying offer in a tweet that had the quote, “If there’s one thing that I’ll bet on, it’s myself.”

Stroman Looks To Bounce Back in Second Stint With Mets

Stroman will now pitch in his second year with the Mets. He will look to have a bounce-back from his 2019 stint in which he wasn’t terrible, but his numbers did drop from his first half. In the first half of 2019, Stroman compiled a 6-11 record with a 2.96 ERA in 124.2 innings. In addition, he had 99 walks, 50 strikeouts and put up a 159 ERA+.

The Mets acquired Stroman from the Blue Jays for two prospects before the trade deadline. As a Met, Stroman went 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in in 59.2 innings. His strikeouts to walks was 60/23 and his WHIP of 1.475 was higher than the 1.227 he had with Toronto. His ERA+ also dropped to 109, which was still above average, but down from his Toronto numbers.

Many attribute the fact that Stroman as a ground ball pitcher didn’t match up well with the Mets defense, which was one of the worst in baseball. Given that Stroman is not strikeout pitcher, he relies heavily on the ground ball, and may have been hurt by the weak infield defense.

Now that Stroman is returning for the 2021 season, the Mets have their eyes set on at least one more pitcher. There’s several avenues out there for the Mets to turn to. As of now, the rotation is led with Jacob deGrom at the top, followed by Marcus Stroman, Seth Lugo, and David Peterson. This leaves at least one spot, and possibly two spots open if Lugo returns to the bullpen.

Mets to Pursue Other Free Agent Options

The potential options in free agency include the obvious one at Trevor Bauer. Bauer has seemingly been connected with the Mets, especially with Cohen’s incoming cash infusion. Bauer had the best year of his career and is on his way to his first career Cy-young Award. If the Mets were to sign Bauer, it would give the Mets one of the best top-two punches in baseball. The Mets would also possess the winners of the last three Cy-young winners, if Bauer were to win the award.

Mets fans eyes were opened yesterday when Team President Sandy Alderson seemingly gushed over the fact of acquiring Bauer on WFAN. Alderson said “I actually think Bauer would be a great personality in New York. The kind of guy that fans would endorse. We’re in the entertainment business.” Bauer rightfully responded sarcastically. “Nah…baseball isn’t entertainment. It’s boring and personality isn’t allowed. And this Bauer guy is going to be terrible in the New York media. Big head case. Couldn’t handle it.”

Alderson also stated on WFAN that a player told his agent to contact the Mets and fans have been speculating that it was Bauer. We don’t know for sure, but the Mets-Bauer connection is definitely one to look for in the coming days. Other options include Charlie Morton, Jake Odorizzi, Aaron Sanchez, among others. Steve Cohen and Mets brass have acknowledged the need for starting pitching help. They will most definitely be active in the market, the question only lies with which options they pursue.

Mets and Steve Cohen Can’t Wait to Get Started

Now that Stroman is back in the fold and has made his decision, the Mets can turn their pursuits to filling other team needs. Those include more starting pitching, a center fielder, relief help, and a catcher. The Mets are going to be one of the most active teams in the offseason and free agency. Although the Mets have not made the postseason for the past four years, they are not very far away.

The team has holes, of course, and Cohen acknowledged some of those in his press conference. The fact of the matter is Cohen and company are “all in” and cannot wait to get going to make the Mets the best team they could be. The Stroman news is just the beginning and how the rest of the offseason plays out will be very interesting from a Mets perspective.

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