With Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman set to hit free agency after the season, there have been "no negotiations at all" taking place, Stroman said Monday on Twitter in response to a question from a fan.
It is typical for players and teams to not negotiate in-season, so that the Mets and Stroman are not having active talks shouldn't come as a surprise -- nor should it be a reason to think a deal won't get done.
Stroman, who accepted the one-year qualifying offer prior to the 2021 season to return to the Mets, cannot be offered the QO again.
That means he will be a free agent who won't be attached to draft pick compensation for any team that signs him if/when he hits the market after the World Series.
After earning his 10th win of the season on Tuesday, Stroman told reporters that he would be "open" to returning to the Mets, but is excited for how free agency will play out.
"I’m open to anything. At this point in my career, I can’t wait to finally be on a team where I know I’m gonna be there for longer than a year," Stroman said. "It’s extremely gratifying. It took 1,000 innings to get to this point. I’m looking forward to free agency however it may play out. I know that it’s manifested and I’m just kind of playing out the story as it should be. There’s no worries on my end, and I know that there will be a team or a few teams that want me, so I’m excited for the next few months.”
Stroman is earning himself quite the deal - he will likely make 34 starts just a year after not throwing an inning - he opted out of the 2020 season due to the pandemic. He now owns a 3.02 ERA, his lowest since 2017.
"I think it’s just a testament to the work I’ve put in in the offseason. … Just to go out there and make every single start after coming off zero innings pitched, I think that’s a huge testament to the kind of work I put in," he said. "It’s endless, it’s tiresome, but it’s all worth it in the end."
Luis Rojas praised Stroman after Tuesday's day game, and said any team would be lucky to have him in their clubhouse.
"Those decisions are going to be a little bit past me, and of course Stro is in those, but he’s a guy you want in your rotation. I mean, which team wouldn’t want Marcus Stroman doing what he’s done this year and with us going through a lot of stuff pitching-wise, specifically. He’s been the guy that’s given us more chances since [Jacob deGrom] has been down. He’s basically occupied that spot in our rotation, just a guy that every five days can give you a chance to win a ballgame."
In addition to Stroman, Noah Syndergaard -- who is set to return to the Mets in the coming days for the first time since having Tommy John surgery in 2019 -- is also set for free agency.
The Mets can extend the qualifying offer to Syndergaard if they so choose.
Stroman, who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, has turned in a terrific season.
In 174.0 innings over 32 starts, Stroman has a 3.00 ERA (3.43 FIP) and 1.138 WHIP with 154 strikeouts.
With the health of Jacob deGrom still very much in question and with the Mets watching Carlos Carrasco have a down year while both Taijuan Walker and Tylor Megill have regressed in a big way in the second half, retaining Stroman and/or adding another reliable top of the rotation starter this offseason will be imperative.
External options on the free agent market will include Max Scherzer (who said he wouldn't agree to a trade to a New York team before he was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July), Kevin Gausman, and Robbie Ray.