Pedro Strop is 34 years old. He’ll turn 35 in June.
Does that surprise you? He’s been around a while and perhaps you thought he was older.
The Cubs could still use what I think Pedro can give them, and so I think they should re-sign him for 2020, despite his sub-par 2019.
From 2013-18, Strop was remarkably consistent in the Cubs bullpen after being acquired in the famous deal that also brought some guy named Jake Arrieta. His highest season ERA as a Cub through 2018: 2.91. His lowest: 2.21. Highest WHIP: 1.177. Lowest WHIP: 0.887. He combined good K rates with good walk rates. He was worth 7.4 bWAR for those six seasons.
And then it all fell apart after a some hamstring injuries, one late in 2018, another in spring training 2019, another April 28 in Arizona, and it finally came to roost in a disastrous appearance May 6 against the Marlins.
He was actually off to a start in 2019 very similar to his previous years. First 11 appearances prior to May 6: 2.53 ERA, 0.844 WHIP. After the May 6 outing he was shut down for almost a month, then made 12 more good appearances: 2.70 ERA, 0.900 WHIP, 11 strikeouts in 10 innings. But after that, eight pretty bad games before he was shut down again with what was described as “left neck tightness.” Coming back in August, he was bad again: seven games, 9.00 ERA, 2.400 (!) WHIP, .318 opponents BA.
And then, suddenly, Strop was back to the old Pedro in September: 11 appearances, nine innings, 2.00 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 14 strikeouts.
He was very likely pitching at times he shouldn’t have been, due to the Cubs not really having a closer early in 2019 and the lack of other viable relievers.
That shouldn’t be the case in 2020. Strop will have had a full winter to rest and heal up from the various injuries, and again, he’s still just 34. I think he’s got one more year left in him. He’s always been a good, upbeat clubhouse presence and the team could use a veteran like that in the bullpen with so many new coaches coming in.
Pedro made $6.25 million in 2019. Would half that bring him back for one more year in a Cubs uniform? I’d do that, $3 million wouldn’t break the bank, and just might give the Cubs another good setup man.
He’s one of the best relievers in Cubs history, despite the bad 2019, and I’d like to see him go out on a high note.
You’ll never forget this one, right? A key strikeout in the eighth inning of a close game August 14, 2015:
Should the Cubs re-sign Pedro Strop?
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