After Marcus Stroman was scratched from his scheduled return from the IL against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, test results reportedly show that the Chicago Cubs starting pitcher has a cartilage fracture in his rib cage.
The Cubs did not give a timetable for Stroman's return, but sources suggest that an injury like Stroman's takes about six weeks to recover from. This does not take into account the ability to throw a baseball over 90 mph, so Stroman's season is likely over.
It's bitter news because Cubs fans were looking forward to seeing if Marcus Stroman would go back to being the dominant pitcher he was in the first half of the season and help the team make a playoff push. Now it looks like we'll have to wait until next year to see Stroman's return.
Given the major struggles Stroman was having before his IL stint, and with his season seemingly over, the 32-year-old will almost certainly opt into his 2024 player option. According to Spotrac, that deal is worth $21 million and Stroman would likely not find anything close to that on the open market this offseason. If he had continued to dominate and be healthy up until the end of the season, that would be a different story.
As for this year, the Cubs will need to find someone else to fill in at the major league level. With Drew Smyly now in the bullpen and Stroman sidelined, the rotation consists of Justin Steele, Jameson Taillon, Kyle Hendricks, and Javier Assad. With major struggles from Caleb Kilian and Hayden Wesneski needed in long relief, it may be time to call on no. 10 prospect Jordan Wicks to fill out the rotation.