Free Agent Profile: Marcus Stroman is back on the market after opting out of his contract with the Cubs

Photo credit:© D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
7 months ago
Could the Jays reunite with a former member of their starting rotation? 
This is a free agent profile, where we take a look at the players on the open market this winter and whether or not they would be fits for the Blue Jays. In this article, we’re going to take a look at Marcus Stroman, who was a Blue Jay between 2014 and 2019.

Marcus Stroman’s 2023:

As has become the norm for his career, Stroman had a solid season in 2023, posting a 3.95 ERA and a 3.58 FIP across 136 2/3 innings pitched. He had a 20.7 K%, his BB% jumped up to 9% from 6.3% in 2022, but Stroman compensated with a lot of ground ball contact. He was named to the All-Star team after an excellent first half but struggled through injury in the latter part of the season. 
Stroman’s best season came in 2019, the year that the Blue Jays traded him to the New York Mets for Simeon Woods Richardson and Anthony Kay. That year, Stroman had a 3.02 ERA and a 3.49 FIP for a 3.8 fWAR. For his career, Stroman has a 3.65 ERA and a 3.63 FIP in 1303.2 innings pitched. On top of that, he has a 20.1 K% and a 6.9 BB%, but generates a ton of ground balls, posting a career 56.7 ground ball percentage.

Marcus Stroman’s contract:

When Stroman was a free agent for the first time in his career following the 2021 season, he inked a three-year, $71 million contract with the Cubs, which featured a $25 million salary in 2022 and 2023 and a player option for 2024 worth $21 million. He decided to opt out of his deal with the Cubs and will surely command well more than $21 million on another contract. 
Jim Bowden’s contract prediction article in The Athletic has Stroman as the 14th best free agent available, but predicted that Stroman would opt-in to his player option due to missing a part of the season with a rib injury. However, Stroman does whatever Stroman wants to do, so Bowden’s prediction was incorrect.
MLB Trade Rumours has Stroman listed as their 18th best free agent and they predict that he’ll make $44 million on a two-year contract, which is close to the annual salary he’d have earned opting in with Cubs but with another year of security. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Stroman get a player option for a third year again as well. 

Is Marcus Stroman a fit for the Blue Jays:

The Blue Jays reportedly showed interest in Stroman ahead of last season’s trade deadline, so that would suggest that the front office isn’t concerned about a reunion with a player who had some dramatic times in Toronto in the past.
We’ve looked at multiple starters in this series, and the same rings true in each of these articles. The Blue Jays have four starting spots locked down: Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, José Berríos, and Yusei Kikuchi. After that, Alek Manoah, Mitch White, Bowden Francis, and perhaps Ricky Tiedemann are in the mix for the fifth spot, but the Blue Jays might look for a more veteran option. 
It seems most likely that the Blue Jays will spend this off-season to improve their lineup, but they could also wind up signing a mid-rotation starting pitcher and trade from their pitching depth in order to fill a need elsewhere. For example, signing Stroman and trading Yusei Kikuchi would get the Blue Jays out in front of having to either re-sign or replace the lefty when he’s eligible to hit free agency next winter.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.



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