For more than a half-decade, Pedro Strop has anchored the Chicago Cubs bullpen. Now, his tenure with the club may be nearing a disappointing end.
Little has gone right for the Chicago Cubs in 2019 and, barring a miracle given their place in the Wild Card standings, their season is likely over prematurely. The end of the season will also indicate the the possible end of many Cubs tenures, including that of Pedro Strop.
Like the team, Strop’s year has been rough. With a 4.99 ERA, this will mark the first year in his Cubs career that he’s ended with an ERA above 2.91. Again, he’s never posted a single mark north of 3.00 in all his years pitching in Chicago.
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Injuries haven’t exactly helped the right-hander this year. Strop only pitched 39 2/3 innings this year: the lowest of his Cubs tenure.
That shouldn’t take away from the amazing tenure he had with the Cubs, both on and off the field. We can talk about how he never turned in what could ever be called a ‘bad’ year – (see above).
What about the role he played in the bullpen during the team’s 2016 World Series championship run or how he stepped up after Brandon Morrow went down in 2018 with an injury? None of that even comes close to fully justifying what Strop has meant to this organization.
To me, Strop felt like a face of the franchise, though not to the same extent as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. I always thought that one day, when his playing career ended, he’d make a good coach or adviser for the team or that he could even do commentary.
Much like Ben Zobrist, Strop has added to his impact by being a veteran leader for the team. In a 2018 article from 670 WSCR AM, Bruce Levine noted that after a game early in 2018 where Baez let his frustration show in an unsportsmanlike way, Strop confronted him about it before anyone else.
Above all else though, Strop knows how to have fun, stay loose, and help his teammates do the same. It’s likely for this reason (and for his incredible fashion sense) that one of Joe Maddon‘s travel themes in 2018 was “Dress Like Pedro Strop.”
If this is indeed the end for him (which, after a rocky 2019 campaign seems likely), it will mark the end of an impressive run for one of the Cubs’ most dynamic personalities. It’s hard to sum up Strop in anything other than “He’s Pedro Strop.”
So, instead of ruminating on the bad year, let’s all remember the good times of dominant pitching, infectious dancing and impeccable style. Oh, and don’t forget: #HatsToTheLeft.