The off-season is almost with the World Series coming to an end. Biggest need in the off-season for our beloved Mets? Starting pitching!
While I have mentioned other pitching options by the trade market, I do believe, the Mets need at least one of the big free agent starting pitchers. Arguably the two best free agent starting pitchers are: Trevor Bauer and Marcus Stroman. Lets compare the two.
Stroman: We can be short about Marcus Stroman his 2020 season, he didn’t pitch. Stroman started the year on the injured list and later in the short season, decided to opt-out due to the coronavirus. While I read a lot of fans unhappy about it, I have no issue with it. First, protecting your loved ones is a reason we can’t dispute. Second, him opting out after getting service time, is something I would do as well. And people, be honest, most of us would take money if it’s in the rules to collect. That being said, him not pitching for a season is something to mention.
Also read: Michael Conforto on the move?
Bauer: The difference couldn’t be greater for 2020. Stroman didn’t pitch, Bauer was fantastic. Bauer pitched to a 1.73 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP. He will win the CY Young. He led the league in ERA, ERA+, H/9 and WHIP. One stat he didn’t lead the league in was FIP, as he pitched to a 2.88 FIP, which could indicate some luck was involved. Another part of Bauer season is the opponents he faced. Bauer faced: Brewers (3), Tigers (2), Cubs (2), Pirates (2), White Sox (1), Royals (1). Not the best lineups, to say the least. Bauer did pitch a gem in game one of the Wild Card series against the Braves. He went 7.2 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 12. Overall a monster year for Bauer.
Conclusion: For the 2020 season, it’s easy. Bauer has a major edge. But still, be carefull to judge a player on one 60 game season. Most fans have a short term memory and this isn’t the year to use that at all.
Stroman: Marcus Stroman began his career with the Blue Jays and pitched half a season for the Mets in 2019. His career numbers are very solid considering him pitching in the AL East for most of those 6 seasons. Not only a strong division, also a division with small ballparks.
Over those 6 years, Stroman has pitched to a 3.76 ERA/113 ERA+ over 849.1 innings. He collected a total of 14.7 WAR in his career. His career FIP is almost equal to his ERA at 3.64, so when healthy, we know what we should get. A ground ball pitcher, who allows a hit per inning on average. Doesn’t allow the long ball, even in the current laungh angle era. Pitcher who should thrive with strong infield defense behind him. The ball will be put in play against Marcus, mostly on the ground.
Bauer: Bauer has been in the majors for parts of 9 years. He made his MLB debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a 20 year old. After his brief stint in 2012, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians. He pitched 7 years for the Indians, before he got traded to the Reds in 2019.
Overall Bauer has pitched to a 3.90/113 ERA+ (sounds familiar?) and a 3.85 FIP over 1190 innings pitched. In his career he collected 17.5 WAR, slightly higher than Stroman with about 250 more innings. Bauer has been up and down in his career. Besides a couple of very strong seasons (2018 and this year), he has been in the 4.15 to 4.60 range ERA wise. He had just two seasons, were he pitched to an ERA under 4 (2.21 in 2018, 1.73 in 2020). Between those two great seasons, Bauer pitched to a 4.48 ERA in 2019. So which Bauer will you get and is it worth the paydal he is going to get?
Conclusion: Stroman gets the slight edge for me career wise. Although in most stats they are pretty equal, Stroman to me is the slightly better one AND more consistent. You know what you get out of Stroman, the Real Bauer is a mystery to me.
Also read: Is Yadier Molina a fit in Flushing?
Photo credit to Africa MLB