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Cubs free agent target: Marcus Stroman

This probably isn’t happening, but go ahead and dream anyway.

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

A number of people reading my previous articles in this series said I should do one on Marcus Stroman, so here it is.

Fact: The Cubs probably aren’t signing Marcus Stroman.

Oh, wait. I promised you an article, not just two sentences, so I guess I should elaborate.

No question, Stroman is one of the top pitching free agents this offseason. He turns 31 next May, has been generally healthy since 2018, and put together a 3.3 bWAR season (3.02 ERA, 1.145 WHIP) for the Mets in 2021. What’s not to like?

This is what’s not to like: $18,900,000.

That’s what Stroman made in 2021. Coming off a 4.7 bWAR year in 2019 split between the Blue Jays and Mets (3.22 ERA, 1.307 WHIP), he opted out of the 2020 season and then the Mets made him a qualifying offer last winter, which he accepted. That shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone — coming off a year where he didn’t play, following a 2019 when he was paid $7.4 million, what did the Mets expect?

Mets gonna Mets, I guess.

That’s kidding, mostly — Stroman was definitely worth the money in 2021. Shoulder problems derailed his 2018 season, but as noted above, he’s been mostly healthy since. So what should a pitcher like Stroman command on the open market?

Given that we might be heading into a lockout soon, that’s difficult to tell. But let’s say that doesn’t happen, baseball operates as normal, and the marketplace works as (theoretically) it should.

We have, interestingly enough, a recent example of a similar pitcher the Cubs did sign. He was about a year older than Stroman at the time, but coming off a roughly comparable year: 4.1 bWAR, 3.86 ERA, 1.163 WHIP.

That’s Yu Darvish. The Cubs signed him to a six-year, $126 million deal in January 2018. You know what happened: one injury-filled eight-start season, one year with a bad first second half and great second half, a second-place Cy Young finish in the pandemic season and then traded away.

That’s probably what it would take to sign Stroman, especially since he’s about a year younger now than Darvish was when the Cubs signed him. Six years, probably around $120 million.

Would you do that? Most here were highly in favor of the Darvish signing when it was made. The Cubs did get some value out of it, and likely traded him at peak value. Darvish’s 4.22 ERA/1.094 WHIP 2021 season accumulated 1.4 bWAR, which isn’t terrible but isn’t worth the $22 million he was paid in 2021, either. (Incidentally, Darvish posted double that bWAR in 2020 — 2.8 — despite it being only 37 percent of a normal season.)

Personally? I would not give Marcus Stroman a six-year, $120 million deal. I’ll bet someone will, though. It could even be the Mets — remember, Stroman is a NYC-area native (Long Island) and apparently loved playing in his hometown even with all the drama surrounding the Mets.

What say you?


Marcus Stroman...

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    ... the Cubs should offer him six years and $120 million
    (68 votes)
  • 41%
    ... the Cubs should try to get him with a different deal
    (176 votes)
  • 42%
    ... the Cubs should not sign him
    (180 votes)
  • 0%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (3 votes)
427 votes total Vote Now