After another quality start last night, Marcus Stroman has seen his season numbers with the Chicago Cubs stabilize toward something increasingly close to his career norms. And in fact, since returning from his post-COVID shoulder issue in early July, Stroman has posted a 2.87 ERA over 14 starts and 78.1 innings.
In short, if the Cubs are going to be competitive in 2023, they’ll need this version of Stroman, 31, to show up.
Even in the rotation, though, Stroman can’t front the thing alone. We’ve discussed at length the need for more impact at the front of the rotation, as well as at least one big-time bat (and glove) to add to the middle infield. With additions like that – and performances like we’ve seen lately from Stroman – the Cubs can plausibly turn the corner into a competitive team rather quickly.
And Stroman clearly agrees.
“I think we’re close,” Stroman told The Athletic of the state of the Cubs. “A lot of that’s out of my control. Hopefully, we make a few moves. I think we have a great core group of guys, great young guys coming up that are going to make great contributions throughout a full year. But yeah, if we add a few pieces, I think we can compete in the division right away ….
“We got a lot of young guys. It’s great for them to get their feet wet, get up here at the big-league level and really get quality reps in, because that’s the best way to further your development, to perform at this level. So yeah, I think once we make a few adjustments around this core group of guys — and then you have these guys who can fill in roles as well — we can be a great team and compete against anybody.”
Internal development + external additions = competitive Chicago Cubs team in 2023. Pretty simple on paper, but obviously the execution this offseason is the thing.
Every bit of messaging we’re hearing, though, all pushes in that same direction: the Cubs know they COULD compete next year if they make the right moves this offseason.
It’ll take a financial commitment from ownership, maybe a savvy trade or two from the Cubs’ increasing prospect depth, and probably some luck. But if the Cubs were to add a front-of-the-rotation arm (Rodon? Senga? Other?) and one of the top free agent shortstops, that’s a heckuva start toward massage this team – which has a winning record in the second half, by the way! – into an NL Central contender.