CLEVELAND – Marcus Stroman has resigned himself to the fact that soon he will likely be speaking about his best Toronto experiences in the past tense.
In advance of the pending split, however, the current ace of the tattered Blue Jays starting rotation vows that he loves much about his first big-league city, one where he developed into one of the top pitchers in the American League.
“The people. The vibe. The patio season,” Stroman said Monday at MLB’s All Star Game Media Day. “Everything, really.”
The right-hander, who was named to his first all star team but won’t pitch on Tuesday due to a pec injury, remembers one thing about his time in the most, however. And it is precisely because there is minimal shot of recreating that feeling for a couple years or more that Stroman will almost certainly be moved prior to the July 31 MLB trade deadline.
“(The seasons) 2015 and 2016 were some of the best times of my life,” Stroman said. “That’s why you play this game, for the playoffs, to play in those special situations where you have to thrive because everybody is counting on you.
“Playoffs are fun – ’15 and ’16 was kind of my time. Rogers Centre was lit. I love pitching in those moments.”
Those moments are no more in Toronto and won’t be until Jays general manager Ross Atkins deems that it’s time to open the Rogers vault to complement Vlad Guerrero Jr. and the rest of the hotshot prospects that are currently having such an impact with the team.
Stroman knows his imminent exit is the reality of the business, however. And if he’s going to end up somewhere, why not where a return to the post season seems feasible?
“I’ve come to terms with it,” Stroman said of his future during his 45-minute media session at a downtown convention centre. “It doesn’t change what I’m doing in the moment. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m trying to go out there and win as many games as I can for the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I feel as strong as I’ve felt in my career Physically and mentally. I’m excited. Whatever my future may hold I think the next five, six, seven years are going to be pretty special.”
Doesn’t seem like a guy anticipating a good patio experience in Toronto’s Entertainment District come August now does it?
Though he won’t be pitching on Tuesday, Stroman’s delivery was strong during his first exposure to an all star week podium, albeit much like J.A. Happ’s experience in Washington a year earlier, with a touch of farewell to it.
– On not being able to pitch in the ASG:
“I’ve been kind of downplaying it and not think about it but I feel its another one of those moments I thrive on and want to be in. To go out there and pitch against the best players in the world for an inning that’s definitely somewhere I’d want to be.”
– On the Jays youth movement:
“The young guys we have are really, really special. And once we can get a couple of veteran guys, a core presence around them, I think it’s going to be an unbelievable team. The young talent wave is kind of here and it’s exciting to see.
“Those guys inspire me and motivate me. The crop is special. We have a bunch of names for a foundation for the Blue Jays. I don’t know if I’ll be a part of it, but I’m glad I’m here now. To be around these guys day-to-day and see how they perform, it’s awesome.”
– On the Free Bo Bichette From Buffalo talk:
“I think he’s ready,” Stroman said of the one remaining high-end prospect still in minor-league purgatory. “He’s one of those guys that is built for it. He’s going to step in and it’s going to be an easy transition, similar to Vladdy. He’s not going to step in and be scared.
“We’re waiting for Bo.”
– On the Stroman height doesn’t measure heart anthem:
“I never for a second wish I was 6-3 or 6-4. You can’t judge talent by any size. I love being small. I love being short. I’ve kind of got a lot punched into this little package and I’m strong. I work at it. I’m excited by it.”
– On his recovery from the mystery pec cramp that was first declared as nothing but has kept him out of one Jays start and an ASG appearance:
“The little break should be perfect. I have a little workout series I’ll do over the next few days. I’ll be good. (Throw) a bullpen Friday and hopefully be out there throwing rockets on Saturday (against the Yankees in the Bronx.) n On a potential MLB return to Montreal:
“I think (Montrealers) would love it. I think they’re ready, 100 per cent. Canadians have a lot of passion and they’re ready for baseball. Montreal is an awesome city. To have that dynamic between Montreal and Toronto as baseball cities that could be very cool.”
STRO BIG RAPS FAN
In his time with the Blue Jays, pitcher Marcus Stroman became an avid follower of the NBA Raptors, particularly during their electric title run this spring.
Like much of the city, he woke up shocked on Saturday morning with the news that playoff MVP Kawhi Leonard was returning to his California roots rather than his current title town.
“It was rampage,” Stroman said of the reaction to Leonard signing with the Clippers.
“People are legit sad. I felt it in the city the next few days … But I don’t think Canadians can knock him at all. We have to be very thankful for Kawhi.”
Rather, Stroman suggest Raps fans should continue to cherish what they witnessed with such passion during the team’s playoff journey.
“You should be thankful and live in the moment for the championship,” Stroman said.
“Don’t let that go away too easily … an NBA championship in Toronto and Canada — let that live.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019