Chicago Cubs: A final goodbye to longtime reliever Pedro Strop
Longtime Chicago Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop will be leaving for the Cincinnati Reds this year. Here, we say a final goodbye.
For the second time in a week, the Chicago Cubs have lost a free agent to the Cincinnati Reds. First, it was instant fan favorite Nicholas Castellanos, and while that one hurt for most Cubs fans, at least the outfielder had only been on the north side of Chicago for two months.
Now, the Cubs have also lost longtime reliever Pedro Strop, who has agreed to a deal with the Reds. The right-hander was one of the longest-tenured Cubs, joining the team in 2013 as the “other guy” who came over in the Jake Arrieta trade with the Baltimore Orioles for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.
Simply put, Strop had a tremendous run with the Cubs. Not only was he solid out of the bullpen, but he was also consistent. Check out these ERA totals from 2013 to 2018: 2.83, 2.21, 2.91, 2.85, 2.83, and 2.26. When we consider how difficult it is to find consistent middle relief help, Strop has to be considered among the best middle relievers in team history.
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And of course, Strop will always be remembered for being a part of the Cubs’ big stretch of winning, which included a championship in 2016. Strop carries a career 1.86 ERA in the postseason and, though manager Joe Maddon put most of his faith in Aroldis Chapman down the stretch in 2016, Strop did pitch two scoreless innings in the World Series.
Though Strop was so great with the Cubs, it seems like the only time he got much attention from the fans was when he had a bad outing. Such is the typical life of a middle reliever.
And when Strop was forced into closing duties and struggled in 2019, his detractors were out in full force. The wearing of his hat tilted towards the left, once charming, suddenly seemed to be an annoyance.
It’s too bad because he was one of the team’s most consistent, unsung heroes for many years. Relievers’ struggles get magnified more than those of any other player, but when we look at the overall body of work, we can see just how good Strop was for a long time.
I’m going to have a hard time rooting for Strop now that he’s gone to a division rival, but I’m really going to miss having him on the Cubs. He has become the latest victim of the Cubs’ lack of spending this offseason; as he only signed for $1.825 million, it’s a shame that the Cubs couldn’t bring him back, similar to how it’s also a shame that they couldn’t bring back Brandon Kintzler at a low price.
So, it appears that another link from the winning years under Joe Maddon has departed. Each one has been difficult in its own way, and while this one won’t get as much attention as some of the others, it’s still a big deal. Farewell, Pedro, and thanks for everything.