Did Yankees get last laugh at Marcus Stroman's free agent begging?

Maybe don't relentlessly mock a franchise for a half-decade?
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages

If Marcus Stroman wanted to be a Yankee so badly, he probably shouldn't have trashed the team at every turn after the 2019 trade deadline landed him in the wrong borough.

Before July of that year, Stroman was a pest in the Yankees' division, but a presence who didn't directly affect New York's mental state very often. He was a good, solid, competitive right-hander, as well as one of the best starting pitchers available at the forthcoming deadline. He was also an arm the Yankees had little to no interest in acquiring at Toronto's asking price.

Ultimately, the Stro Show was granted a different New York homecoming, dealt to the Mets in exchange for a pair of pitching prospects who've since flamed out. This led to -- reportedly -- a closed-door tantrum in the Toronto locker room, a series of denials that he ever preferred the Yankees, and upwards of 3,000 snarky tweets/Twitter likes/blocks/shots at Brian Cashman after New York's head honcho claimed he didn't view Stroman as a genuine difference-maker that season.

On the one hand ... Cashman was wrong! Stroman could've lorded Domingo Germán's playoff-altering suspension over the Yankees GM privately, thereby not removing himself as an option for the team down the line. Instead, he went public with his disillusionment over and over and over again ... before finding out in recent weeks that reaping isn't nearly as fun as sowing.

Because, according to Bob Nightengale on Sunday, Stroman reached out to the Yankees this offseason to express interest in joining the team. The Yankees declined to offer him a contract or even really care.

Yankees to Marcus Stroman: "No contract for you!"

Of course ... it wouldn't be the 2024 offseason without a public flip-flop. On Monday, Nightengale pivoted, claiming that the two sides had "mutual interest" boiling since November. What? "Interest" makes sense; I, too, am often interested in the goings on of my enemies. But how could this possibly be a free agent fit, especially after the Yankees were rumored to have not only moved past Stroman, but actively declined his overtures this winter?

Stroman would probably help the Yankees in a vacuum next season, but unfortunately he's filled that vacuum with swirling nonsense. He's coming off a campaign where, despite battling injuries towards the end of the season, he was a burgeoning contender's co-ace in Chicago, posting a 3.95 ERA and thriving on ground balls (though 136.2 isn't enough innings to satisfy the current Yankees).

Unfortunately, though he proved he could "handle" New York during his Mets days, he proved more forcefully that he would clash with Cash in the Bronx, considering that's been the bulk of his online activity for two years.

Did Stroman actually think the Yankees might be ready to bury the hatchet, or did he just intend to embarrass them again by using them for leverage? And did it work, given Nightengale's follow-up on Monday morning?

Either way, the Yankees made sure they got the upper hand in the Game of Leaks here by dropping their nugget first, and the right-hander's going to have to look for someone else to be his new team/patsy in the process.