Chicago Cubs: One more year for Pedro?
Let’s be honest. Pedro Strop (142 ERA+) is one of the best Cubs relievers ever. Other than Hall of Famer Lee Smith (134 ERA+), who else would you put in the discussion from the last 30 years as a Cub?
Strop has been nothing short of spectacular as a Cub, which makes what happened this past year (2-5, 4.97 ERA) tough to swallow for fans and the team alike. Strop was just not himself. Whether it was injuries or a downward career trend due to age, no one knows for sure, but why wouldn’t the Cubs roll the dice on him if it doesn’t break the bank. After all, it’s not like the Cubs have a superfluous glut of proven major-league relievers at the moment.
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MLBTR lists Strop as the 49th best free agent target, and estimates he will sign a one-year, $5 million deal. If the Cubs can get him to come back to Chicago for three or four million, and they think a fresh start to 2020 will produce a more Strop-like year, then this is a total no-brainer.
Since 2014, Strop has pitched in 338 innings in 374 regular season games, striking out 383 with a 2.90 ERA. Strop has been the most consistent and dependable bullpen piece for a club that has completely turned over their pen virtually every single year since he showed up.
He is also a positive role model in the clubhouse and would provide a steady and energetic presence in the bullpen as well. Granted, Strop’s 2019 season could have been a harbinger of things to come, but at three or four million, I’m willing to give him a chance to come back healthy and do his thing.