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Marcus Stroman explains why he took qualifying offer, says Mets’ rotation is ‘unbelievable’

Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman spoke to reporters on Thursday at spring training for the first time since returning on the one-year qualifying offer for $18.9 million.

Stroman opted out of the 2020 season shortly after it began due to COVID-19 concerns.

The 29-year-old, who is one of three key cogs in the Mets’ rotation along with Jacob deGrom and Carlos Carrasco, said it was a “priority” of his to return to the Mets this offseason.

“That was something on my priority list because of the organization, the staff,” Stroman said. “I loved everything about the team when I got here, from players (to) coaches. I was excited to kind of take the QO and go in the market next year. Because I know what I’m capable of and I know what I’m gonna do. All future. So I’ll always bet on myself every single time. … I’m not slightly worried. I know I’m gonna go out there and perform.”

Stroman is set to hit free agency after the 2021 season and there have not been any reports about the Mets exploring a potential long-term deal with him or Noah Syndergaard, who is also eligible for free agency after this season.

When it comes to the Mets’ rotation, which the team is actively trying to add to according to SNY’s Andy Martino, Stroman said the guys already there are “unbelievable.”

Along with Stroman, deGrom, and Carrasco, the Mets’ rotation if the season started today would likely include David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi.

“I speak highly of our guys for a reason,” Stroman said. “I think we’re unbelievable with what we have. Any team can always make additions, but I love our staff. I love our staff one through five. I love our entire team. to be honest with you.

“If we’re nitpicking, you can nitpick with any team and say ‘oh yeah, it would be better if we added this, this, and this.’ But let’s be real here. Look at who we added in the offseason and let’s be thankful for that. Let’s get the fan base excited and ready to play baseball for this year.”

Stroman was solid for the Mets in 2019 after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays, posting a 3.77 ERA and 1.47 WHIP while striking out 9.1 batters per 9 in 59.2 innings pitched over 11 starts.