Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman has repeatedly stressed his desire to sign a long-term extension with the Cubs, even as he could reach free agency after this season on the heels of a career year. Stroman, who can opt-out of the final one year and $21MM left on his contract at season’s end, has posted a sensational 2.42 ERA (184 ERA+) through 14 starts with a 21.7% strikeout rate that would be the best of his career over a full season while also managing a fantastic 61% groundball rate. Those fantastic numbers figure to make Stroman a worthy addition to any rotation, but Chicago seems uninterested in getting a deal done at the moment. As Stroman himself relayed on Twitter that both he and his agent have made “multiple attempts” to engage the club’s front office in extension negotiations, but the Cubs were uninterested in exploring a deal for the time being.
In a conversation with The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, Stroman elaborated further on the situation, telling Mooney that “We’ve been going to the front office from spring training, very open that I want to be here. We’ve continued those thoughts. Up until now, there’s been nothing from their side. No offers, no talks, really, at all.” Stroman goes on to make clear that there isn’t tension between him and the front office, despite the fact that his camp’s desire for negotiations having been largely rebuffed to this point.
It’s possible that the club’s hesitance has to do with their position in the standings. The club is 28-36, good for fourth place in the NL Central and 5.5 games out of a playoff spot. While their weak division does provide them some semblance of hope for contention, it’s nonetheless easy to imagine the Cubs selling for the third straight deadline. If they opted to go down that path, Stroman would likely be their most attractive trade piece. In fact, Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic recently identified Stroman as an ideal fit for the Giants as trade season approaches, while noting that San Francisco actually finished second in free agent bidding for Stroman’s services when he signed his current three-year, $71MM deal with Chicago prior to the 2022 campaign.
More from around the NL Central…
- Brewers outfielder Tyrone Taylor is set to receive a cortisone shot in his right elbow, manager Craig Counsell told reporters (including Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.) Counsell noted that the injection comes after Taylor received multiple opinions on the elbow sprain that’s kept him on the shelf for the past two weeks. After posting a 106 wRC+ in 250 career games headed into the 2023 campaign, it’s been a brutal season for Taylor, who has slashed just .160/.179/.240 (8 wRC+) while being limited to just 27 games due to the ongoing elbow issues. With Taylor on the shelf, the club has Blake Perkins backing up an outfield trio of Christian Yelich, Joey Wiemer, and Brian Anderson.
- The Reds are still without their usual starting outfield, even after activating center fielder TJ Friedl from the 10-day injured list yesterrday, as left fielder Jake Fraley was placed on the shelf with a right wrist contusion in a corresponding move. While Friedl is enjoying a career season, with a .315/.365/.479 slash line in 43 games this year, the club is sure to miss the contributions of Fraley nonetheless, who has posted a wRC+ of 114 in 123 games since joining the club prior to the 2022 season. With Fraley on the shelf, the Reds figure to use the likes of Stuart Fairchild and Will Benson in the outfield corners.