MLB

Blue Jays' Marcus Stroman, other all-stars make attractive trade targets

All-star pitcher Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays is among the possible trade targets as baseball's July 31 deadline approaches, but currently nursing a strained left pectoral muscle and not available to pitch in Tuesday’s game at Cleveland.

Pitcher unsure if he'll be part of young team's seemingly promising future

Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman is among the all-stars this week in Cleveland who could be dealt to another team as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. Apparently, the native of Long Island, New York would not mind closing out the year in pinstripes with the Yankees. (Kathy Willens/Associated Press)

For a day, Will Smith was in for quite a treat — teammates with Clayton Kershaw, Freddie Freeman and Christian Yelich.

Soon, the San Francisco reliever could be playing with one of them for real.

Smith went into the all-star game on Tuesday night in Cleveland well aware his days with the last-place Giants might be dwindling.

"If I get traded, it'll be the fourth time," the left-hander said. "After the first one, you're kind of numb to it."

Fellow all-star pitchers Marcus Stroman, Shane Greene and Brad Hand also are possible trade targets as the July 31 deadline approaches.

Stroman is 5-9 with a 3.18 earned-run average for Toronto, a team that hopes to build for the future with the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio.

"I don't know if I'll be part of it," Stroman said.

'I'm in a good place mentally'

The 28-year-old, who is currently nursing a strained left pectoral muscle and not available to pitch in Tuesday's game against the National League all-stars, has been trying to turn the trade rumours into motivation.

WATCH | Marcus Stroman fans 6 over 6 shutout innings vs. Red Sox:

Marcus Stroman pitched 6 shutout innings to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 6-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox. 1:47

"It's impossible not to be aware of [trade rumours]," Stroman told reporters following a strong start on June 18 against the Los Angeles Angels. "I wake up and social [media is] blasted with it, there's talk everywhere in the clubhouse, it's around 24-7.

It doesn't seem like I'm going to be signed here long-term and it's just something you have to come to terms with.— Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, who has been linked to trade rumours since the off-season

"I'm in a good place mentally where I'm really not bothered by it. I'm kinda able to lock it in when I need to and I've just been focusing on my mind a lot, on and away from the field."

In his sixth major league season with the team that drafted him 22nd overall in 2012, Stroman feels his time in Toronto may be limited.

"It doesn't seem like I'm going to be signed here to a long-term deal and it's just something you have to come to terms with," he said.

Being traded 'is part of what we signed up for'

"I love this team, I love Toronto, I love everything about the country and I'm going to continue to go out there every start and just compete, compete, compete and do everything I can to limit runs."

Hand is an old hand at this. The San Diego Padres sent the left-hander to Cleveland just two days after the 2018 All-Star Game, during the break.

"I didn't really think I was going to get traded last year," Hand said Monday. "It's part of what we signed up for. … There's really nothing you can do about it unless you have a no-trade clause.

"I mean, obviously there's a select handful of guys whose names are always thrown out there, so it's always the teams at the top of the division looking to get stronger and teams at the bottom looking to get something in return, so we'll see what happens," he said.

At last year's all-star game, there was little doubt it was Manny Machado's last time in a Baltimore uniform. He even gave a hint of what to come when he pulled out his phone — while playing shortstop — and posed for a selfie with Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

Hurlers Bauer, Bumgarner could be moved

The next day, the Orioles traded Machado to the Dodgers.

Greene has 22 saves and a 1.09 ERA for the last-place Detroit Tigers, making him an attractive option for teams in the playoff chase.

"It's a business and it's part of the game. Right now, I'm here. I'm going to enjoy myself," Greene said.

Some teams, such as the Indians, will see where the next few weeks take them. They've recently closed the gap on Minnesota in the American League Central, meaning Hand and his 23 saves and 2.17 ERA might not be so expendable.

Same goes for Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer. There's bound to be talk about San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner and Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler.

No longer 2 deadlines

But contending clubs can't take too long. There used to be two trade deadlines — July 31 for swaps without restrictions, then Aug. 31 to deal players who had cleared waivers.

Major League Baseball changed the rule this season, making it all-or nothing by July 31.

So the 29-year-old Smith, who has 23 saves, a 1.98 ERA and has struck out more than half the lefty hitters he's faced, will see what this month brings.

"Right now, I'm wearing the orange and black, and that's who I'm trying to help win every day. I know something could happen, but I don't take a peek at what people are saying. There's so much out there, and you don't know what's true."

"I've been traded during the season, in the off-season and at the deadline," he said. "I'm used to it."

With files from The Canadian Press

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