Marcus Stroman is having a career season with the Cubs.
In 13 starts this season, Stroman holds a 2.39 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, the latter of which leads the National League. He has 68 strikeouts over 27 walks with 79 innings pitched thus far. He's indubitably the Cubs' most valuable asset.
The Cubs, despite Stroman's uncanny season, are not performing as well as their ace. They stand second-to-last in the NL Central, above only the St. Louis Cardinals. Roster enhancements from this past offseason aside, the Cubs are underperforming.
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Hence, they could look to trade Stroman for assets to bolster their roster and farm system. But MLB Insider Jon Heyman argues, and hopes, they don't become sellers at the trade deadline; unless Stroman doesn't want to play for the Cubs, which he said the exact opposite when speaking on the subject earlier this season.
"The guy has performed incredibly this year, I mean he’s been one of the best pitchers in the league and has really helped keep them in it,” Heyman said on 670 The Score. “I would say the general-out-there attitude probably means if he does get traded, I think the Blue Jays and the Mets are probably not candidates to take him back. But, I think that on-field stuff isn’t going to cause anyone else to hesitate if they do trade him."
"And again, I’m not wishing they become a seller. If they do, they would get a lot for him. He’s been great."
Back in early May, Stroman expressed his desire to remain on the North Side past his current contract.
"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 the Sun-Times then. "But I’m also very confident in my abilities in free agency. I’ve always bet on myself."
Stroman has a player option on his contract for next season, meaning he can opt out of his final year with the Cubs in hopes of reeling in a bigger contract number. He prefers the Cubs grant him a long-term extension before he hits free agency.
This season, the Cubs have already gifted Nico Hoerner and Ian Happ with three-year $35 million and three-year $61 million extensions, respectively. Is Stroman next in line to earn a payday?
The Cubs might want to keep him around if they desire to make the playoffs in their weak division. Despite standing fourth in the NL Central, they're only six games back.
Stroman has the numbers to back up the result of a raise. And he has the upper hand as one of the best pitchers in the National League this season. A lot of teams in MLB want Stroman, but he only wants to be on one team for the time being.
"I truly love everything about this organization," Stroman said in May. "Being someone who’s [going into] year 10 in the big leagues, I value that. And I love going out into the buzz at Wrigley every time I go out to pitch every fifth day.
"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."