Chicago Cubs: Making the case to sign Pedro Strop long-term

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Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The model of consistency describes what Pedro Strop has been during his tenure with the Chicago Cubs, but at what point does the franchise extend his contract?

Pedro Strop’s passion, emotion, heart and will to win has shown each season with the Chicago Cubs, but maybe none more so than in 2018. Aside from wearing his hat in an unorthodox fashion, which complaining about is simply childish, Cubs fans really have no reason to complain about Strop. None. At all.

Strop was a 2.1 WAR player in 2018, his highest since 2012. He took over the closer role in mid-July once Brandon Morrow went down and thrived in the role.

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Here’s a look at Strop in 20 1/3 innings as the closer: 1.77 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 18 strikeouts, seven walks, .139 opponents batting average and 52.8 percent ground ball rate.

In his six seasons with the Cubs, Strop hasn’t posted an ERA above 3.00. Aside from 2016, he’s pitched at least 50 innings per season. Most teams would take those numbers, especially on his current contract.

Strop made $5.8 million in 2018 for the Cubs, his highest as a major league pitcher, and at age 33, the durability and consistency has proven to be winning contract for a franchise that currently has notable contracts that don’t look so good at this point, i.e Jason Heyward, Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood.

A (potential) downside at extending Strop is he will be 34 next June. Looking at Strop for a possible extension may be for two or three years, maybe? The Cubs have made it known that they will not pay a ton for their relievers in recent seasons.

Some notable free agent relievers the Cubs have brought into the organization include Steve Cishek and Morrow. Cishek earned a two-year, $13 million deal and Morrow got a two-year, $21 million deal. I could see Strop get a similar extension as Cishek.

Cishek earned $7.5 million in 2018 and is set to make $6.5 million in 2019. His role is similar to Strop’s when the bullpen is healthy. The Cubs are optimistic that Morrow can return to high-leverage innings in 2019, but I’m not sure they will trust him to be the closer.

Strop proved he could be trusted in that role, but could he do it for an entire season? That remains to be seen. With that said, maybe the Cubs wait until after 2019 and decide to extend him then? That is, of course, if they decide to give him a chance as the closer entering the 2019 campaign.

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Nonetheless, Strop has earned a chance to not only be the Cubs closer in 2019 but also given an extension because of how durable and consistent he’s been in the late innings.

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