The Chicago Cubs have reached an agreement with free-agent starter Marcus Stroman ahead of Major League Baseball's looming lockout, according to Stroman's personal Twitter account. Stroman's deal is for three years and $71 million and includes an opt-out clause after the second season, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Stroman, 30 years old, entered the offseason ranked by CBS Sports as the ninth-best free agent on the market. Here's what we wrote at the time:
Stroman showed no rust after opting out of the 2020 season. Instead, he started 33 times (matching a career-high) while posting his best quality-of-contact and whiff rate in years. Stroman seemingly made two adjustments. First, he started to pitch inside more frequently with an arsenal that drips with seam-shifted wake; second, he added a splitter, giving him another weapon to deploy versus lefties and righties alike. Stroman's split has a Gausmanian movement profile, though it doesn't have the utility to match just yet. (You figure he's a candidate to outpitch his projections if he improves in that respect.) The same old criticisms of Stroman's game still apply -- he's short; he doesn't strike out a ton; and so on -- but he's a fascinating pitcher, and one who should get paid based on his track record of being an above-average starter.
Stroman spent last season with the New York Mets, with whom he amassed a 3.02 ERA (133 ERA+) and a 3.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 179 innings. For his career, he's posted a 3.63 ERA (116 ERA+) and a 2.96 strikeout-to-walk ratio in more than 170 starts. His production has been worth an estimated 18.5 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference's calculations.
Stroman is the second notable addition the Cubs have made to their rotation this winter. Earlier this winter, they claimed left-hander Wade Miley off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. (The Reds were going to decline Miley's club option and failed in their efforts to find a trade suitor.) As CBS Sports had previously reported, the Cubs had signaled publicly and privately that they intended to spend money this winter to upgrade their roster.