Right-hander Marcus Stroman is one of the premier starting pitchers on the MLB free-agent market. Coming off a highly productive and reliable 2021 campaign in what was his first full season with the New York Mets, Stroman proved himself to be a top-of-the-rotation force.
He’s efficient, works out of trouble and has found success in both the National and American League. Stroman can be a difference-maker for a MLB rotation, whether that be a team in contention or one that’s trying to turn a corner.
Here are three ideal free agent destinations for Marcus Stroman.
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3. Marcus Stroman restocks the Chicago Cubs
The Cubs sold the house last season, as they traded away Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Craig Kimbrel and Joc Pederson before the MLB trade deadline. At the same time, they were competitive down the stretch with their new-look offense and now have some payroll flexibility. Stroman is precisely the type of signing a team looking to retool, not rebuild, like the Cubs would make.
Last season the Cubs’ starting rotation was putrid, but it’s capable of better performance and has some upside. Kyle Hendricks has been one of the best right-handed starters in the sport in recent memory. Adbert Alzolay and Alec Mills are fresh off their first seasons as essential full-time MLB starters. Justin Steele showed some promise.
A rejuvenated Hendricks, continually improving young arms and Stroman makes for a sturdy rotation. They’d have a pair of proven studs in Hendricks and Stroman, who are each adept at inducing weak contact with their off-speed pitches, alongside starters who are just getting started in Alzolay and Mills.
- Marcus Stroman stats (2021): 3.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 158 strikeouts across 179.0 innings (33 starts)
The Cubs still had a functioning offense in the aftermath of their midseason trades. Chicago being a competitive force once again is reliant on the team establishing a well-rounded starting rotation. Getting Stroman for the remainder of his prime would be an enormous step toward that goal.
All that being said, Stroman and the Cubs may feel that a marriage isn’t best at this time given Chicago having their hands full with the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
2. Marcus Stroman beefs up the Boston Red Sox
All of a sudden, the Red Sox are back in the AL pennant mix. Now they need a starting pitcher, as left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez recently signed with the Detroit Tigers. Stroman and the Red Sox make a lot of sense for each other.
Chris Sale is 32 and recently recovered from a long-standing elbow injury. Nathan Eovaldi can be hot and cold. Nick Pivetta and Garrett Richards are inconsistent. Even if Rodriguez stayed in Boston, the Red Sox needed another starting pitcher. His departure is merely a reminder that a move is required on the pitching front.
Adding Stroman would be a major sigh of relief for manager Alex Cora. The former would provide the Red Sox with an electric starter who would be a stabilizing force for an overall precarious unit. Tanner Houck was a pleasant development in the second half of 2021. If he can build on that success, which included getting postseason experience, the Red Sox would have themselves a steady rotation.
Plus, one figures that at least one of their veterans puts together a high-level and/or consistent season in 2022. Signing a pitcher in his prime like Stroman is optimum for a team that resides in a stiff AL East and potentially has a narrow window of opportunity when it concerns winning the league pennant.
The factor that could prevent Stroman from landing in Boston is the organization preferring to give him a short-term deal with prospective extensions for a handful of star position players on the horizon (Stroman likely wants a long-term contract).
1. Marcus Stroman returns to the New York Mets
The Mets need Stroman. Their once promising rotation is in disarray and needs pitchers to lean on.
While he hasn’t made a full start since 2019, Noah Syndergaard signing with the Los Angeles Angels removes a pitcher who could’ve been part of the Mets’ 2022 rotation. Meanwhile, Jacob deGrom missed the last 11 weeks of 2021 due to an elbow injury. Taijuan Walker had a tale of two halves campaign. Tylor Megill lost steam down the stretch. Carlos Carrasco missed most of the season due to a hamstring injury. In short, keeping Stroman is vital for the Mets.
This is an organization with a lot of uncertainty and question marks. For starters, it took them a month and a half to hire/make progress on talks with a general manager and the team is still without a manager. As for the roster, Javier Baez, Michael Conforto and Stroman are free agents. New York has plenty of hitters who can bounce back from a mostly yawning season. The same cannot be said for the rotation; it’s a mixed bunch that has been encouraging in spurts.
Surely, the Mets could get in the mix for another free agent starter like Robbie Ray or Kevin Gausman if Stroman departed Queens. On the other hand, Stroman has familiarity playing in the NL East and was their best pitcher from start to finish last season.
New York offers Stroman the chance to be a pillar for their pitching staff, which comes with an enticing long-term contract.