Cubs have nothing to lose in bringing back Pedro Strop

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

If you’re one of those readers who has a problem with how Pedro Strop wears his hat, you can go ahead and leave right now.

Why? This is an unmitigated Pedro Strop appreciation post. The Chicago Cubs brought back the 35-year-old right-hander on a minor league deal this week, hoping to help the veteran return to form out of the Chicago bullpen in 2021.

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Last season was… forgettable for Strop, who battled a groin injury that sapped him of both velocity and control. He made only four appearances for the Reds and walked six of the 15 batters he faced while also uncorking a wild pitch. Of course, that came on the heels of a very ineffective 2019 with the Cubs – the final year of his initial seven-year stint on the North Side.

Despite that largely ineffective campaign, Strop still boasts a 2.90 ERA/3.19 FIP across 373 innings of work in his Cubs career. His wipeout slider and intense emotion on the mound endeared him to fans after he came over in the infamous Jake Arrieta trade with Baltimore.

While Arrieta garnered much of the attention given he turned into a Cy Young winner in Chicago, you can’t take anything away from Strop, who emerged as one of the most consistent relievers in the National League during his run on the North Side.

Cubs have a lot of moving parts in the bullpen this spring

Now, he’ll factor into a Cubs bullpen mix that has a lot of moving parts. David Ross said he’ll go with Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning to start the season, but getting from a questionable rotation to the seven-time All-Star could prove difficult.

This winter, the team added right-hander and former Red Sox closer Brandon Workman to the mix, along with left-hander Andrew Chafin. Those two figure to be key pieces of the puzzle in 2021. Rowan Wick, who continues to battle the same injury that cost him time last year, Jason Adam, Brad Wieck and Dan Winkler could all also play roles for the club.

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If Strop can show he’s healthy and can throw strikes, he’s likely to make the Opening Day roster. He brings a great deal of experience and, if he’s at 100 percent, the righty might have a few more unforgettable moments in store for the Wrigley faithful.