With Marcus Stroman, Cubs make big-time splash in free agent market
The Cubs made no secret as to what was at the top of their offseason wish list.
“There’s no question that we have to acquire more pitching, better pitching this year,” Jed Hoyer said at his end of season press conference. “I think that’ll be the number one priority because that, said simply, was the downfall of this season was that our rotation was short, and we weren’t effective enough in terms of run prevention.”
Wednesday night, the Cubs made a splash in the free agent market to address that need, signing free agent Marcus Stroman to a three-year deal.
CHICAGO! @Cubs— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) December 1, 2021
Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities. Culture and passion everywhere. Beyond excited to pitch in front one of the best fan bases in all of sports. Thank you to everyone in the city for the warm welcome. I can feel it. Let’s get to work! @Cubs— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) December 1, 2021
Stroman posted a 3.02 ERA across 179 innings in 33 starts last year. He was an All-Star in 2019, won a Gold Glove in 2017 and finished 8th in AL Cy Young voting in 2017. He has a 3.63 ERA in 179 career starts. It’s the type of move that immediately bolsters the Cubs’ starting rotation, giving them length and quality.
The 30-year-old righty made 16 quality starts in 2021 and pitched at least 5 innings in 29 of his 33 starts. The Cubs had 43 quality starts in 2021 and 19 of them came from Kyle Hendricks.
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
“Our starting rotation simply wasn’t good enough this year to compete,” Hoyer said.
Since the start of the offseason, Hoyer and his front office have taken steps to improve that, not just with Stroman’s reported signing. The Cubs claimed lefty Wade Miley off waivers from the Reds and picked up his club option. He was stellar in 2021, pitching to a 3.37 ERA in 163 innings across 28 starts. And Hoyer knew that was just a first step.
“As we talked about needing to add innings this winter, needing to add quality starting pitching, quality pitching throughout … and to be able to do that in early November was exciting for us to start that process,” Hoyer said at the GM Meetings last month. [It] is certainly not the end of that process, but it was a great way to start.”
The next step came on the first day in December. And the signing added substance to Hoyer’s plans of being aggressive this offseason. Stroman was one of the top arms available in the free agent market.
“We’re certainly gonna be active,” Hoyer said. “But I think we need to be active in a way that we feel like we’re getting the right value for the dollars we’re spending and we’re also making sure we’re not hindering ourselves going forward with expenditures for right now.”