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BCB After Dark: Sizing up Stroman

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks if it’s a good thing if Marcus Stroman returns next year.

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the hippest hangout for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come on in and sit with us. We’ve waived the cover charge this evening. Dress code is casual. The show will be starting shortly. There is a two-drink minimum, but it’s bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Do I remember how to do this? Please forgive me as I slowly get back into the habit. And I did appreciate all the well-wishes that you all sent to me and my family. I spent a little over a week with my sister and we had a nice little party for our mother. My mom was insistent that there not be a formal funeral for her. She said she hated my dad’s funeral—it was too stuffy and not like him at all, she said. Many people from the town and two of my cousins from out of state showed up for the party.

The Cubs were off today before the crucial final six games of the season. But the Yankees beat the Diamondbacks 6-4, putting the Cubs and the Snakes in a tie for the second and third Wild Card spots. Arizona does have the tiebreak, however. The team to worry about is the Marlins, who are one game back.

Before we were so rudely interrupted, I asked you if any Cub from the 2016 team would go into the Hall of Fame. Fifty-three percent of you thought that Jon Lester will one day be enshrined in Cooperstown. Six percent thought that both Lester and Aroldis Chapman will be inducted and three percent voted just for Chapman. Another 37 percent of you think the 2016 Cubs will be shut out.

Here’s the part where I talk about music and movies. Those of you who skip that can do so now. You won’t hurt my feelings.

I haven’t been able to watch any movies over the past two weeks, as I’ve spent most of my waking time with my family. However, I did manage to finish the three-part documentary on Amazon Wayne Shorter: Zero Gravity and I enjoyed it very much. We’re so fortunate that they were able to tell Shorter’s story while he was still alive to tell it, even if the finished project came out after his passing this past March. Or as they put it, Shorter leaving for the unknown.

Part two of that documentary dealt with Shorter’s time in Weather Report, the music they made and what was going on in his life during that time. So this is Weather Report playing “Black Market” in 1976, which is close to the height of their popularity.

As I said in the jazz section, I haven’t been able to watch any films in the past few weeks. I want to write a little more about The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and I hope that some of you have gotten a chance to watch it. But that’s one of my favorite movies (not my favorite—that would probably be Double Indemnity) and when I do write more about it, I want to do it justice.

I am planning on treating myself to watching Stop Making Sense in IMAX sometime this week. I’ve seen it before, but I’m sure it was on a VHS tape sometime in the mid-80s. I want to see it come alive in IMAX and with a superior sound system.

Director Spike Lee recently called Stop Making Sense “the greatest concert film ever!” and while Lee is a Talking Heads fan (he recently directed the film version of the Broadway production of David Byrne’s American Utopia), there are a lot of other people who would agree with him. Let’s see if I agree with him after watching it in IMAX like he did when he said that.

Anyway, I’ve asked this question before, but it seems like an appropriate time to ask it again: What’s your favorite concert film? Is it Stop Making Sense? The Last Waltz? I used to watch Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps over and over on the USA Network in the early eighties. I wouldn’t call it my favorite, but it brings back a lot of great memories. He had Jawas as roadies.

There’s Woodstock, of course, but I’ve always felt Monterey Pop was the better concert film. And that Summer of Soul concert film that came out in 2021 at least belongs in the same conversation as those two.

I still haven’t seen the Aretha Franklin Amazing Grace concert film. I’ve meant to. If you have, give us your thoughts.

I caught The Song Remains the Same when TCM was doing a marathon of concert films a few months back. I’m not a Led Zeppelin fan, nor do I hate Led Zeppelin. However, that film could have turned me into a rabid Zeppelin hater. The cosplay sequences were embarrassing.

So tell us about your favorite concert films. Or if you want to rag on one, go ahead.

And here’s the trailer for the restoration of Stop Making Sense.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and movies, which kind of merged together tonight.

As everyone around here knows, Marcus Stroman signed a two-year free agent deal with the Cubs with a one-year player option. Those two years are done at the end of the season and the Cubs have passed on negotiating an extension. So Stroman has a decision to make at the end of the year.

Stroman had been one of the best pitchers in the National League in the first half and at the All-Star break, he was widely expected to opt-out of his deal and go on the market. However, things have changed with his injury-filled second half. Both Patrick Mooney in The Athletic (sub. req.) and Bob Nightengale with USA Today predict that Stroman will opt-in to his $21 million player option. (Yes, we can tell all the Nightengale “reverse barometer” jokes that we want—and I’m still waiting for Aníbal Sánchez to sign with the Cubs—but Mooney is confirming him here.)

So tonight’s question is “Is this a good thing for the Cubs?” Normally when a player exercises a player option, that means that the player couldn’t get more than that on the open market, so the team is probably overpaying. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that Stroman couldn’t get something close to a one-year, $21 million deal on the open market. He just probably wouldn’t get more than that, so he figures why not stay in Chicago for another year where he’s happy and see if he can build up some value for next off-season.

Obviously, if the Cubs get the Stroman of the first half of the 2023 season, the $21 million is a bargain. If they get the injured Stroman (and he will be 33 next season), then it’s not such a good deal. Plus, the Cubs have Justin Steele and Jameson Taillon returning next year, and Jordan Wicks certainly seems to have pitched his way into a spot in the rotation. If the Cubs pick up Kyle Hendricks’ $16 million option, then Stroman fills out the rotation. (And Hendricks’ option is really for $14.5 million because there’s a $1.5 million buyout clause.) And that leaves no room in the rotation for Javier Assad or any of the potential rookies like Ben Brown. And Cade Horton is going to be in Chicago some time in 2024, barring injury.

Of course, there are always injuries. And there is nothing preventing the Cubs from trading Stroman if he opts-in. Kyle Hendricks could be dealt too, at least until he reaches 10-5 status in July.

On the other hand, we can assume that’s $21 million that won’t be spent on a different player.

So is it a good thing for the Cubs if Marcus Stroman opts-in to his player option?


Is it good news for the Cubs if Marcus Stroman opts-in to his contract option?

This poll is closed

  • 78%
    (246 votes)
  • 21%
    (67 votes)
313 votes total Vote Now

Thank you all for stopping by after we were closed for so long. It’s great to see all these familiar faces again. Please get home safely. Clean up around your table and recycle any cans and bottles. Tip the waitstaff. And join us tomorrow for more BCB After Dark.