The Blue Jays traded starter Marcus Stroman to the Mets on Sunday in exchange for a pair of prospects, Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson. While the Mets were a bit of a surprise destination, Stroman’s departure is not shocking considering the Jays’ 40-67 record.
With Stroman out of the picture, an anonymous Blue Jays executive decided to trash-talk him. Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, the executive said, “Sometimes players get real comfortable when they have been there a while and they think they are the veteran. I think when he gets into a group with deGrom and Syndergaard over there he will fit right in like he is supposed to do.”
This is certainly a quote. Stroman has been in the majors for six years, as long as deGrom and one more year than Syndergaard. Why are deGrom and Syndergaard considered veterans but Stroman is not?
This executive appears to be assigning a motive to Stroman that likely isn’t there. In February, Stroman said via The Canadian Press, “I’m still trying to get established myself. I would never consider myself a veteran. I still feel like I’m working, I still feel like I’m climbing. I’m nowhere near where I think I’m going to be so I think we do have to put more of an emphasis in this game on keeping these [veteran] guys.”
That brings us to the phrase, “Fit right in like he is supposed to do.” It’s loaded with connotations. Throughout his career, Stroman has been outspoken, including on issues concerning the juiced baseball or the poor performance of his team. For others, being unique and a firebrand is considered a plus. When Trevor Bauer is traded, will an anonymous Indians executive use a baseball journalist to trash-talk him on his way out? What about Madison Bumgarner, whose reputation as a red-ass precedes him? It is interesting that “fitting in” is an expectation placed on some players, but not others.