As you might have noticed, I’ve been a bit scarce around here the last couple of days. That’s not usual for me, particularly during a busy Cubs and/or MLB time, and there’s a reason for that I’ll get to in a moment, but first I want to give my undying thanks to Ashley MacLennan for her awesome work covering for me and posting numerous articles on all the Cubs moves since Tuesday.
The reason I’ve been missing is an event that’s been in the planning stages for quite some time, and it just happened to coincide with a busy baseball time. I don’t share too much about my personal life here; that’s by design. Some of you have met me and it’s always a pleasure to share baseball with you.
I posted this in the comments to the Yan Gomes signing article Tuesday and now I’ll share with all of you ICYMI: My dad was born December 2, 1921. He is turning 100 years old today, and we’re having a small celebration in San Francisco, where he now lives, in honor of a life well lived. So I’m going to leave my thoughts here on a couple of important baseball things and then I might be a little scarce again around BCB for a day or two, for which I trust you’ll understand.
Now, to the topic at hand.
I’m going to take this opportunity, then, to do something I’ve always wanted to do regarding a Cubs thing:
“I told you so.”
Didn’t I tell you that the Cubs had to spend this offseason for four very important reasons? Didn’t I also tell you that just because the Cubs weren’t first in line for the pre-lockout spending spree that owners went on beginning Sunday, didn’t mean they wouldn’t be part of that spending spree?
The signing of Marcus Stroman, to a contract that has the highest AAV in franchise history, is a moment that signals exactly what Jed Hoyer has said all along — that the Cubs intended to contend in 2022, and spend intelligently. This move helps them do both, in my view.
Stroman was one of the top starting pitchers available in free agency this offseason. He had a fine season split between the Blue Jays and Mets in 2019 (total 4.7 bWAR), opted out of the 2020 pandemic season and then posted another very good year in 2021 with the Mets (3.5 bWAR). His peripherals are good, he’s healthy, he doesn’t give up home runs. He’ll turn 31 in May, so the three-year deal gives the Cubs his age-31, -32 and -33 seasons, years that should be quite productive. This also, in my view, makes the signing of Yan Gomes that much more important. The Cubs now have an excellent catching tandem who can work with Stroman and the rest of the rotation — and the signing might also help the Cubs extend Willson Contreras, since the team just made a real statement that they intend to contend in 2022. I believe they can do so in a possibly very weak NL Central — right now, only the Cardinals and possibly the Brewers are better teams.
A rotation of Stroman, Wade Miley, Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills, with a fifth starter chosen from among Justin Steele, Keegan Thompson, Adbert Alzolay and who knows, maybe others, is far, far better than the mess the Cubs ended the 2021 season with. Sure, they still need bullpen help, but this is a very good rotation. It will, to be sure, require that Hendricks recover his pre-2021 form, but I believe very strongly that he will do so.
Stroman also, from what I have gleaned from writings about him and his own Twitter account, seems a thoughtful and caring guy who will take care of himself and do whatever it takes to win. Interestingly:
Wrigley Field is the only big league stadium I haven’t pitched at in my career. Crazy. Can’t wait to call it home! @Cubs— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) December 1, 2021
Can’t wait to have you there, @STRO. Welcome!
Incidentally, if Stroman wears his Mets No. 0 as a Cub, he will become the first-ever Cub to wear that number. This signing, and that of Michael Hermosillo late Wednesday, leave the Cubs’ 40-man roster at 39, frozen there for now as MLB’s owner-begun lockout has started.
BCB’s Sara Sanchez will have a statistical look at the Stroman signing coming up at 11 a.m. CT.