Blue Jays president: Stroman is 'the kind of player we want'

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Relations between the Toronto Blue Jays and Marcus Stroman have appeared somewhat strained at times this spring, but one member of the team's front office seems to have the right-hander's back.

Asked about Stroman's place in the rebuilding team's plans during a Tuesday media availability, Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro seemed to suggest the 27-year-old does indeed have a place with the Canadian club going forward.

"He's the kind of player we want in our clubhouse because he's highly competitive, highly athletic, and has been a big part of what we've accomplished here over the last four-to-five years," Shapiro said, according to John Lott of The Athletic.

A former first-round pick, Stroman's emerged as both a vital presence on the field and an immensely popular player off of it. But an injury-plagued 2018 campaign helped lead to an increase in trade rumors over the winter.

Questions have also occasionally been raised about whether the 27-year-old's outspoken personality - especially on social media - might have rubbed the team the wrong way.

Stroman has never been shy about expressing his feelings. Earlier this spring, he discussed a lack of extension talks with the team, saying "it seems like I'm not wanted sometimes." He also sent out a multi-tweet rant Monday detailing his frustration over the multitude of unsigned veteran free agents.

Shapiro clarified he has no issue with Stroman's social media habits and said he sees his personality as a positive for a team that counts the pitcher as one of its oldest and most experienced players.

"If we spend our energy and time looking at one player's tweets, then we're wasting time that we could be spending trying to build a championship organization and team," Shapiro said. "No, it honestly does not bother me."

He added: "I also think that you need to have individualism. I want players to feel free to say what they believe and what they think. ... So the player can say anything they want, and how it impacts our team, our environment, is handled within that clubhouse. And I think, while we're still young and we're maybe not there yet, we're a long way towards being there."

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