3 Chicago Cubs trade rumors to squelch before they gain any traction

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3. Marcus Stroman could be shipped off for massive package

This is wishful thinking on my part, but let's address the other part of that rumor. On the one hand, the logic of trading Stroman seems very simple. The Cubs are likely out of this year and Stroman, with an opt-out after this year, would almost certainly try his hand in free agency. At a 2.42 ERA and 3.48 FIP, he'd be the top arm on the trade market. The farm system is full of tantalizing pitching depth and the free agent class next year is stacked including the likes of Julio Urias and Aaron Nola.

Trading Stroman could net the Cubs a ton and then they could simply sign an ace off the market next year to pair with Justin Steele. The thing is, for as straightforward as that all seems, I still blanch at the thought of trading him. For one, Stroman wants to stay in Chicago. A player's desire is hardly going to completely sway front-office decisions, but here, it still feels mutually beneficial. Stroman projects as a pitcher who will age well and, in terms of performance, he's been ace quality and quite durable since 2019.

As mentioned in Alzolay's case, pitching depth is hardly a sure thing either. Hayden Wesneski, who seemed primed to be a mid-rotation starter after his excellent first look last year, has struggled massively this year. Caleb Killian still hasn't fixed his control issues. Even Steele, for as good as he is now, took multiple years and role changes to become a stud. It's not like Stroman would stop that depth from coming up and making an impact either. Injuries happen and there will be ample opportunities in the rotation in the coming years.

As for free agency, that'll require spending top dollar against other teams that will also be hungry to add more firepower to their own rotations. It's hardly a sure thing that the Cubs would come away from free agency in 2024 with the ace they desire. They know Stroman has an interest in staying and they've worked with him for the past two years now. The pair behind him is even set up to help a pitcher like him with Dansby Swanson and Nico Hoerner playing stellar defense up the middle.

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It feels wrong for the Cubs to create a new hole to cover with free agency or prospects when they already have such a good fit in Stroman. An extension would and should be the ideal outcome considering the desire from the man himself and the hope that 2024 will be their first real year of contention. Nothing barring a deal will stop the rumors from flying, but it's a deal this team needs to get done with their ace.

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