One-tіme All-Stаr асe dіѕсuѕѕeѕ extenѕіon tаlkѕ wіth Cubѕ

The Cubs and Marcus Stroman explored an extension this spring, reports Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun Times. While no deal was reached, the door seems to still be open on some sort of extension coming together this season.

Stroman is off to a fantastic start this season, working to a 2.28 ERA over his first eight starts. That sort of form makes it increasingly likely that Stroman opts out of the final year and $21M remaining on his contract in 2024.

“I’ve been open with the front office here, been very vocal that I want to be here and I want an extension, that I don’t want to honestly make it to free agency,” Stroman told Lee. “The organization top down, how they handle the players, how they handle the families, how they operate, I love everything about it. So, I would love to be a Cub for, honestly, the rest of my career, and sign one more deal and be done.”

While it’s fairly common for players approaching free agency to declare an interest in a reunion, those comments from Stroman are particularly strong and do show a clear desire from his side to remain a Cub long-term. While it’s unclear how far extension talks got during the spring, Lee adds that they haven’t reopened them so far this season.

Stroman joined the Cubs last year on a three-year, $71M deal and has been a steady arm at the top of their rotation. Over 33 combined starts since, Stroman owns a 3.19 ERA, striking out 7.9 batters per nine innings and walking 2.6. He’s spent time on the COVID-IL and also missed a little bit of time to shoulder inflammation last season, but he has generally been a regular fixture in Chicago’s rotation.

Even with some regression from his quality start to the season, Stroman likely can top the $21M remaining on his deal. He’ll also be ineligible for a qualifying offer, further boosting his market opportunities. The starting pitching market is strong this year, with Shohei Ohtani, Julio Urias and Aaron Nola all headlining it, with the likes of Jordan Montgomery, Lucas Giolito, Blake Snell and Yoshinobu Yamamoto all quality options. In fact, those seven players all featured on Tim Dierkes’ recent free-agent power rankings. Stroman would very much fit into that mix, and would expect to do well in free agency.

As for the Cubs, they do have a fair bit of money tied up to the likes of Dansby Swanson, Jameson Taillon, Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ in 2024, with payroll commitments currently sitting at about $148M for next season, but they’re also off to a solid start in 2023 and they’ll be expected to spend again next winter as they look to push their new core back to playoff contention.

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