Cubs need to act fast to keep from losing key piece of starting rotation

Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman has an opt-out clause in his contract which he will exercise if the Cubs play out the year without giving an extension.

The Chicago Cubs sit at 5-4 on the young season, thanks in large part to Marcus Stroman. The right-hander might talk a lot on social media, but he’s backed that talk up with 12 scoreless innings in his first two starts, both victories, against the Brewers and Rangers.

Chicago signed Stroman to a three-year deal worth $71 million prior to the 2022 season. He was coming off of one of his best seasons with the Mets, and took a deal to try and lead the Cubs rotation.

Stroman pitched well in 2022 but missed time due to COVID and a shoulder injury. He made 25 starts and posted a 3.50 ERA. Despite missing some time last season, Stroman has proven to be a durable big-game pitcher that the Cubs would benefit from keeping around.

Cubs need to act fast to keep Marcus Stroman in Chicago

Stroman’s deal included an opt-out after the 2023 season. If he opts in, he’d make $21 million in 2024 and then hit free agency. If he opts out, he can make a whole lot more. Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that Stroman will surely exercise his opt-out if the Cubs don’t extend him , and that makes a ton of sense.

Stroman is 31 years old and has been a consistent second or third starter for most of his MLB career. He’s the ace right now, but would ideally be a third starter on a contender. The Cubs are not that yet, but are making strides to attempt to get back to the postseason.

Stroman is a guy you can rely on to take the ball every fifth day and give you a chance to win. He doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, and can be annoying on social media, but is a really effective groundball pitcher who can give you six or seven innings consistently allowing three runs or fewer.

After looking at the deals pitchers like Taijuan Walker and Jameson Taillon got this offseason, the Cubs should be prepared to give him an extension now to avoid the price tag being raised with other teams having the ability to negotiate.

Walker got a four-year deal worth $72 million. Taillon got four years and $68 million. Stroman is better than both and is around the same age. He will demand more.

Keeping Stroman around for a couple more years is for the best. This should get done sooner rather than later.