This weekend, perhaps more than any other this season – even as the Cubs have been firmly ensconced in a losing spiral – we’ve heard the “ope, they’re gonna sell again” trade talk pick up. It’s pretty understandable when the Cubs find themselves with the worst record in the National League at the end of May.
So the timing of this report from Ken Rosenthal is quite noticeable:
From Stroman, via Rosenthal:
“At this point in my career, I’m so open to anything. But (being traded) would bother me a bit, just because I feel like I do love it here, as far as the city, the organization from the top down, the fans,” Stroman told The Athletic on Saturday. “It’s incredible playing at Wrigley. Me coming out here 30 minutes before a game and getting a standing ovation, it’s hard to top that.
“It would be tough, very tough in that regard. But at the end of the day, that’s out of my control. I’m sure I’d be happy going to play somewhere else as well ….
“I don’t know what they’re thinking, where they’re at as far as moving forward, but I would love to stay here and sign an extension and not even get to free agency, honestly,” Stroman said. “I’m very confident myself in free agency as well. I’m real big on just letting it play out. I’m cool either way.”
I want to dig into this more, but with the holiday weekend going on, I’m not as available as usual right now. I’ll mostly defer to recent discussion on Stroman and extending with the Cubs:
The Cubs are in an interesting spot with Stroman and their pitching staff. We know that much of the Cubs’ upper-level prospect depth is on the pitching side, and we’ve seen how valuable it can be when a guy breaks out like Justin Steele. But we’ve also seen that the process can take time, even with a well-regarded, high-floor guy like Hayden Wesneski. With Kyle Hendricks no lock to bounce back or be around in 2024, with Drew Smyly looking more and more like he might also opt out of his deal after the season, and with depth starters like Javier Assad and Adrian Sampson and Caleb Kilian not necessarily becoming more than depth in the next few years, you could understand why the Cubs might be eager to have Stroman’s stabilizing presence for years to come.
The flip side there is that, while the upcoming free agent class is very weak on the positional side, it is potentially very strong on the starting pitching side, with all of Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Nola, Julio Urias, Lucas Giolito, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell, Luis Severino, Max Scherzer, and more set to hit the market. The Cubs are certainly going to be involved there, and just as Stroman may want an opportunity to explore his options, the Cubs may also want to do some exploring.
In any case, it’s good to know that there’s a strong relationship there. Even if you want to explore options, and even if you’re wholly confident in your coming waves of starting pitching, you still may want to try to get a good value on a stabilizing presence like Stroman.