'Brings out the best in me.' Medford's Marcus Stroman says he's ready for bright lights of Yankee Stadium
A few days after posting an Instagram photo of himself wearing a Yankees sweatshirt, Medford, New York native Marcus Stroman said he's ready for a new Yankees outfit: his pinstriped Yankees uniform featuring his number "0".
"To put on those pinstripes is something we all dream about as kids," Stroman said Thursday while speaking with reporters on Zoom.
Stroman joins a rotation projected to include Gerritt Cole, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, and Carlos Rodón, Nestor Cortes and Clarke Schmidt. Rodón and Cortes already are working out at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Florida, following injury-shortened seasons.
“We do like what we have,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said of the rotation.
Now, they're getting Stroman, who could end up being the second starter in the rotation. He knows he has to perform or the Yankee fans will let him hear it.
"I grew up there. I'm from there. I understand that playing there is all about your performance and how you come out on the field. Like I said, I'm someone who thinks the pressure and the lights brings out the best in me," said Stroman, who also spent two seasons pitching for the Mets.
A two-time All-Star, Stroman missed six weeks last season with the Chicago Cubs because of inflammation in his right hip and then a rib cartilage fracture. He finished 10-9 with a 3.95 ERA that was his highest since 2018, leaving him 77-76 with a 3.65 ERA since making his big league debut in 2014.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone visited Stroman's home during the recruiting process, and Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rizzo and Anthony Volpe also spoke with the free agent.
“This is an ultimate competitor. This is someone that wants the big stage, wants the bright lights,” Cashman said. “There is a population of major league talent that does not want to play in the New York arena. It’s too hot. It’s too difficult. It’s too much. But that is not this player.”
That's very different than comments Cashman made in 2019. Back then Cashman could have traded for Stroman. But he told Yahoo Sports "we didn’t think he would be a difference-maker."
Cashman said he apologized at the time through Stroman’s agent and directly to Stroman during negotiations this offseason.
"It was quick. We literally laughed about it. He let me know his piece about how that didn't come out as he wanted it to," Stroman said Thursday.
Now, Stroman is ready to show Cashman that he's got the ultimate competitor on his team.
"Sometimes that city, that energy and that pressure it brings out a different animal. So, I'm excited for that possibility," Stroman said.