Cubs owner Tom Ricketts defers to Jed Hoyer on a Marcus Stroman extension

In public comments ahead of the London Series, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said any potential Marcus Stroman extension is in the hands of Jed Hoyer.
Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs / Quinn Harris/GettyImages
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Thanks to scheduling, the Chicago Cubs will trot out their two best starters - Marcus Stroman and Justin Steele - this weekend in their London Series matchup against the division rival Cardinals.

That's a tough task for a St. Louis team that's struggling at a level we haven't seen in decades. Stroman leads the National League in ERA and Steele ranks third. The former looks like a legitimate Cy Young candidate and has continued to pile up the quality starts, dominating every time out. With an opt-out at the end of the season, he's a surefire candidate to test free agency this winter - leaving Cubs fans clamoring for a long-term extension.

At a public event in London on Thursday, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts deflected when asked about such a possibility, putting the onus squarely on president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer while suggesting the team will be buyers if their recent hot streak continues.

Prior to the team's surge that saw them pull within 3 1/2 games of first after completing their second sweep of the Pirates in as many weeks, a Stroman trade seemed like an inevitable end to this relationship. Now, though, he and the team have given the front office plenty of reasons to lock him up past 2023.

On the year, the right-hander is already at 4.0 bWAR, putting him on pace for the best season of his career. He leads the league in wins, quality starts, ERA, innings pitched, ERA+, WHIP and HR/9 - leaving no doubt of his ability to match (and often out-duel) the game's best arms.

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As far as Ricketts' comments, this is the regular line we've gotten over the years. Ownership always defaults, at least in remarks, to the front office. But, at the end of the day, it's the Ricketts family who writes the checks and dictates the direction of the organization. The funds, seemingly, are there, though - and now it's on Hoyer to decide what path to take with Marcus Stroman.