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Jays trade pitcher who wanted to stay

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You have to wonder sometimes if Toronto Blue Jays management has any idea what it’s doing.
The current regime of president and CEO Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins have made some dubious decisions in their time with the Jays and another was made, Sunday, when they sent their best pitcher, Marcus Stroman, to the New York Mets for a pair of pitching prospects.
Stroman was a shining star on a bad Jays team. His 2.96 ERA was fifth in the American League and 12th in all of baseball.
Not bad for a pitcher on a team with a 40-67 record.
With the trade of leadoff hitter Eric Sogard earlier on Sunday, a spot opened up for blue-chip prospect Bo Bichette, who was called up from AAA Buffalo.
So all of the Jays’ top prospects are now in the bigs, where they will learn on the job.
Which is fine.
But you need veteran support to provide leadership and help instill some confidence in the youngsters.
And yes, the Jays will get that from players such as Freddy Galvis, Randall Grichuk and Justin Smoak.
But nothing builds confidence like winning and Stroman gave the Jays the best chance of doing that every time he took to the mound. As a 28-year-old who hasn’t hit his prime yet, Stroman seemed like the perfect pitching ace to lead this Jays rebuild into the future.
Stroman loves Toronto and he loved being part of the Jays organization. And he showed his love for the city by getting the Toronto skyline tattooed on his abdomen.
Reports that I’ve read indicate the two pitchers the Jays got in return are projected to be back of the rotation starters, if they make it to the Majors.
I wonder if that is enough of a return for a pitcher of Stroman’s caliber.
Most pundits say the Jays have a bright future with the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and now Bichette. That much is true. But that future is a bit dimmer without Stroman.
•••
The ice is in at Credit Union Place. Which means hockey season is not that far away.
The Manitoba Junior Hockey League hosted its annual prospect development camp, July 25 to 28 in Winnipeg, where 76 players put their skills on display.
But there was more for the 16-and-17-year-old players to take in.
The weekend included off-ice testing, player development seminars and hot stove sessions.
The on-ice skill sessions were led by J.P. Vigier of Vigier Hockey, Jon Cara of TheRINK and Alfie Michaud, assistant coach with the University of Maine Black Bears.
At the hot stove sessions, players had a chance to listen to guest speakers Barrett Leganchuk, scouting co-ordinator for the Winnipeg Jets; James Patrick head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Winnipeg ICE; Eddie Olczyk, assistant coach with the NCAA’s Bemidji State Beavers (not the former NHLer); Vigier, a former Portage Terrier and Atlanta Thrasher; and Zach Whitecloud, a former Virden Oil Capital and Vegas Golden Knights prospect.
The Dauphin Kings had a handful of players attending the camp and it will be interesting to see how the camp helped with their development.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER