The chase for Pedro Strop may not rate as national news, but it’s an important situation in the context of the remaining relief market. Perusing the slate of still-available pen pieces should convince you of that.
The group of pursuers was defined recently and seems now to have been culled again. The Marlins and Rangers are the two final clubs in the bidding, according to Hector Gomez of Deportivo Z 101 (Twitter link), with the Brewers and Cubs evidently exiting the picture.
For the Fish, Strop would represent something of a finishing flourish to an offseason full of bullpen movement. The Miami organization has dumped a whole lot of talented but unreliable younger hurlers and obviously has interest in plugging in a late-inning veteran.
Should he land instead in Texas, Strop would help buttress a unit that still has some uncertainty. Jose Leclerc and a resurgent Rafael Montero provide some potential fire at the back of the unit, but it’d be nice to pair Strop with Jesse Chavez to lock in some sturdy frames.
Strop has been a steady performer for years now, though he’s coming off of a down 2019. With injuries limiting his availability and effectiveness, the 34-year-old managed only a 4.97 ERA. More than anything, he (like many of his peers) was suddenly prone to the long ball, allowing about twice as many per nine innings as he had over the preceding five years. And a fairly significant velocity decline gave some cause for concern. But it’s not hard to envision a quick bounce back if Strop is at full health, as he still proved capable of inducing an enticing mix of swings and misses and groundballs.