A starting pitching effort like the one that the Chicago Cubs received on Saturday afternoon from Marcus Stroman is what will allow the team to team to climb back to the .500 mark on the season and be in contention for the National League Central division.
Stroman was excellent on Saturday as he allowed 1 run in 6 innings of work while striking out 3 during the Cubs' 10-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
The Cubs enter play on Sunday 5 games under the .500 mark on the season and 7 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the National League Central. With the Brewers and Cincinnati Reds playing each other this weekend, there is little ground for the Cubs to make up in regard to catching the first-place team.
However, the team has made up a game on the Reds after the first two games of the second half. The team will need more of that over the course of the next two weeks if they will truly avoid selling at the 2023 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline.
Stroman's name has already surfaced in trade rumors and while speaking with reporters after his start on Saturday, the veteran starting pitcher provided an update on the potential for a contract extension with the Cubs before the deadline.
"‘‘I’m open to it, I just don’t think it’s going to happen,’’ Stroman said. ‘‘There’s zero hard feelings. I have a great relationship with [president of baseball operations] Jed [Hoyer] and [general manager] Carter [Hawkins], the Rickettses."- Marcus Stroman via Chicago Sun-Times
Stroman is aware of the fact that he may get traded at the deadline but did not rule out the idea of signing back with the Cubs this winter when he presumably opts out of his current contract.
For the Cubs, moving Stroman would certainly signal as a white flag on the 2023 season but that is not a point where the Cubs are at.
Ideally, the Cubs would want to have a firm decision by now in regard to their plans for the deadline but the weak state of the National League Central along with metrics suggesting that the team should be better than their record has created hope that a hot start to their second half will allow for buying at the deadline.