Free agent reliever Pedro Strop might be down to just a couple teams, and neither is the Cubs.
At least neither is the Brewers:
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) January 23, 2020
Reporting earlier in the week had those two teams plus the Cubs and Brewers in the mix. Now they’re out.
It’s easy to speculate that the reason the Cubs (and Brewers) are out is because they were looking at a minor league deal, while the other two suitors are willing to guarantee Strop a big league contract. If that’s the case, you can’t blame Strop for going for the sure thing.
As for the Cubs, although their unwillingness to commit to any big league dollars right now is obviously a huge factor, I think you do also have to note their rapidly-accumulating collection of relief arms at this point that all also come with upside and risks, like Strop would. Even before we knew about the hard-and-fast plan to get under the luxury tax, I wasn’t so sure a guaranteed big league deal for Strop was going to be the right move (not only because of the cost, but also because of the desire to see some of those innings going to other guys – you can’t find quality relievers without giving them meaningful innings).
I would love to have Strop back for so many reasons, though, so it’s not like I would have beefed with a $1 or $2 million deal, of course. But if the Cubs drew the line at a minor league contract, I’m not sure that isn’t warranted by the performance/risk/roster considerations.
I’ll reserve final comment for when a deal comes down, because at that point it might be obvious why the Cubs are out. Until then, I’ll just say that Strop is one of the best Cubs relievers of all-time, I’m not sure what he has left, but I hope it’s something great wherever he winds up.