NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets are close to completing a trade to acquire All-Star pitcher Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the swap had not been finalized.
New York would send the Blue Jays two of its top pitching prospects, 24-year-old left-hander Anthony Kay and 18-year-old right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson, a second person familiar with the talks said, also on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been completed.
Stroman posted a tweet that read: “Toronto, I love you...forever!” It was followed by a Canadian flag.
A 28-year-old right-hander who made his first All-Star team this season, Stroman is 6-11 in 21 starts despite a 2.96 ERA that is fifth-best in the American League. He has a $7.4 million salary and is not eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.
The 5-foot-7 Stroman is 47-45 with a 3.76 ERA in six big league seasons. He grew up on Long Island near Mets starter Steven Matz, about 50 miles from Citi Field.
Toronto’s clubhouse was not opened to reporters after Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, and Stroman left the ballpark without speaking to media. The Blue Jays said Stroman was not taking the team charter to Kansas City.
New York (50-55) is six games back in the NL wild-card race, with six teams ahead for the two spots, after a four-game winning streak that boosted the Mets to 10-5 since the All-Star break. With the trade deadline approaching Wednesday, this deal might lead to them shipping off a member of their current rotation, which includes Matz, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Jason Vargas and NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.
Syndergaard, Wheeler and perhaps Vargas appear the most likely to be traded.
Wheeler can become a free agent after this season, as can Vargas if his 2020 club option is not exercised. Syndergaard and Matz can become free agents after the 2021 season, and deGrom is signed through 2023 — though he has the right to opt out a year early.
Stroman was a prep star at Patchogue-Medford High School on Long Island before attending Duke University. On April 16, 2009, he pitched against Matz, who was on Ward Melville High in East Setauket.
Kay is 1-3 with a 6.61 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Syracuse after starting the season 7-3 with a 1.76 ERA in 12 starts at Double-A Binghamton. He also went to Ward Melville, like Matz, and was drafted by the Mets on the 29th round in 2013 but chose to go to the University of Connecticut. Taken on the first round with the 31st overall pick in 2016, he signed for a $1.1 million bonus.
Woods Richardson is 3-8 with a 4.25 ERA in 20 starts for Class A Columbia of the Carolina League, with 97 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings. Taken on the second round with the 48th overall pick last year, he signed for a $1.85 million bonus.
AP freelance writer Ian Harrison in Toronto contributed to this report.