Even as I wrote about him again this morning – short version is there are analytical reasons to believe he’ll age well – and even as I’ve been stumping for him as a Cubs free agent signing since the start of the offseason, I have to admit that the way things have played out have made it difficult to believe the Cubs would actually be going seriously after Marcus Stroman.
Heck, even though there have been recent rumors that included the Cubs among the teams interested in Stroman, it’s hard to let yourself buy it after things got so quiet.
But then the Cubs inked a couple smaller deals – showing that they aren’t totally quiet – and now there’s a whopper of a rumor from The Score’s Matt Spiegel:
Have heard now from 2 different sources that the Cubs and Marcus Stroman are hot and heavy in discussion right now. Would absolutely love that signing.
That’s not just the Cubs having generic interest in Stroman. That’s the Cubs actually being in active talks with him. Like right now. Like, what if they got a deal done before the lockout begins tonight at midnight Eastern?
Let me touch on that part first, actually: unless an agreement was in place, say, yesterday, and simply hasn’t been reported yet, it would be difficult to imagine that the Cubs and Stroman’s camp could actually get everything done today. Contract minutia. Legal issues. The physical. Medical reviews. So, again, unless this was going on for a little while before today, it might be something to watch after the lockout ends.
But whenever it might happen, it’s not as if this doesn’t make sense. Stroman, 30, is a healthy arm that projects to age well, and fits a long-term spot of desperate need for the Cubs. You could argue that him being a contact-manager type doesn’t fit with what the Cubs are hoping to do in the rotation – and I’d agree! – but sometimes you like a guy enough, and he projects well enough into the future, that you take what you can get. Heck, maybe the rest of the market is undervaluing him for precisely this reason.
Of note? The other teams mentioned in the previous report of the Cubs’ interest in Stroman are the Red Sox (signed James Paxton), the Giants (signed Anthony DeSclafani and Alex Wood and Alex Cobb), the Mets (signed Max Scherzer), and the Angels (signed Noah Syndergaard). Those signings don’t necessarily rule those teams out – especially the Angels and Red Sox – but it might be a consideration here.
More from our earlier discussions on Stroman, who could be looking at a deal upwards of five years and over $100 million:
Stroman, a tremendous athlete who could age well, has posted a 3.04 ERA over 179.0 innings for the Mets this year after sitting out the pandemic season. He was just as good in 2019 and 2017, which is kinda making 2018 (5.54 ERA, but sub-4 FIP) look like a flukey blip. I want this guy in the Cubs’ rotation.
The guy has just been consistently good and mostly healthy. Any team should want him in their rotation. Bonus? He’s one of these obsessive pitch-craft guys who is constantly tinkering with his pitches, his timing, his grips, etc., and trying to stay as far ahead of the game as he can. It couldn’t hurt to get another established guy like that on staff as you bring up more young arms.
If the Cubs do step up to pursue Stroman, it’ll mean that they’re willing to get into that four or five-year range on the right free agent, which will also strongly suggest that they aren’t kidding when they say they want to at least try to compete for a playoff spot in 2022. You don’t use up the best year(s) of a high-priced free agent signing on a season you’re planning to punt.
Let’s see where this goes, if anywhere. Those are some high-bidding teams mentioned with the Cubs, and I’ll admit that I’m not convinced they’re going to go to nine figures on any free agents right now, even a guy who fills an obvious need so well like Stroman.
UPDATE: Not that this proves anything, but Stroman liked a couple tweets that referenced Spiegel’s report.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) December 1, 2021
Also, Adbert is right:
Bring the guy
— Adbert Alzolay (@adbert29) December 1, 2021
UPDATE 2: IT’S HAPPENING!!!