The 2022 season is all about change for the high-profile Long Island players in The Show. The change of scenery could be good for these guys.
Righthander Marcus Stroman of Medford, a 2016 Duke University graduate, inked a three-year, $71 million deal with the Cubs. It is Stroman’s third club in four years, and he is in line to be Chicago’s Game 2 starter Friday against Milwaukee.
Stroman, 30, was 10-13 with a 3.02 ERA for the Mets last season. He made 33 starts, the most of any righthander in MLB. He tweeted soon after signing with the Cubs in December: “Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities. Culture and passion everywhere. Beyond excited to pitch in front of one of the best fan bases in all of sports. Thank you to everyone in the city for the warm welcome. I can feel it.”
Lefthander Steven Matz, 30, of Setauket and Ward Melville High School, signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Cardinals in the offseason for his eighth year in the big leagues. It is the third team in three years for Matz.
After six years with the Mets, he was with the Blue Jays last season, going 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA. He started 29 games and struck out 144. Now he will try to help St. Louis contend for the NL Central title.
Righthander Justin Dunn, 26, of Freeport and Boston College, also has moved on. Dunn spent three years with Seattle and compiled a 5-4 record (11 starts) with a 3.94 ERA. The former first-round selection by the Mets (2016 amateur draft) was part of a five-player trade by the Mariners and Cincinnati on March 14. Dunn is bidding for a spot in the Cincinnati rotation, but Reds manager David Bell reported that he could miss a couple of months with shoulder troubles.
Centerfielder Travis Jankowski, 30, who led Stony Brook University to its first NCAA Division I World Series appearance (2014), played five years with San Diego before a year each with Cincinnati and Philadelphia. The Mets signed the free agent to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training in the offseason. The speedy Jankowski is hoping to make the Opening Day roster.
Righthanded reliever Stephen Ridings, 26, of Huntington and Haverford College (2016), worked in relief for the Yankees in 2021 and impressed with his 100-mph fastball. The 6-8 fireballer earned a spot on the 40-man roster, but he’ll start the year on the injured list because of a lower-back issue before joining Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He made five relief appearances last season and struck out seven in five innings with an ERA of 1.80.
Lefty Anthony Kay, 27, of Stony Brook and UConn (2016), enters his fourth year at the MLB level and is in a battle for a spot in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. Last year he made five starts and six relief appearances, spending some time in the minors and on the IL. His dynamic changeup has helped him to a 5-2 career record.
Manhasset native Reiss Knehr, who graduated from Fordham (2018), had a 1-2 record with a 4.97 ERA in 29 innings for San Diego last season. The 25-year-old righthander throws a 93-95-mph fastball with a high spin rate and late movement. He appeared in 12 games with five starts and is a top Padres prospect.
Speedy outfielder Ramon Laureano of Oakland, who graduated from Upper Room in 2015, will sit out the first 80 games of the 2022 season. On Aug. 6, 2021, the 27-year-old was suspended without pay after testing positive for nandrolone, a performance-enhancing drug. Laureano denied that he knowingly took the banned substance and said he “was shocked” when he learned about the positive test.
OTHER LONG ISLAND PLAYERS
Joe Palumbo of West Islip, who had nine big-league appearances with the Texas Rangers between 2020-21, was signed by the San Francisco Giants and assigned to the organization’s Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats, in the Pacific Coast League.
Nick Tropeano of West Islip made five big-league appearances in 2021, going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA between the Giants and Mets. Tropeano, who has spent seven of the last eight seasons going between the minors and the big leagues, signed a minor-league contract with Texas in January. He has a 14-14 career record with a 4.22 ERA. The Rangers have pitching depth, but they are in need of another solidified big leaguer in the rotation heading into 2022. Tropeano is a viable starting option if he can break the roster following camp.