Watching Marcus Stroman speak about his second career All-Star selection was a powerful reminder of not only the player he is - but the person he is - one the Cubs would be well-served to keep in the fold past 2023.
Asked repeatedly about this accomplishment, Stroman deflected - giving as much or more credit to all the behind-the-scenes folks in the organization - and praising fellow All-Star Justin Steele, who earned his first career Midsummer Classic selection this year.
"Way more excited for the news for Justin than myself, to be honest with you. To be a young guy and to be so dominant in this league and to have that validation, I think it’s awesome for Steeley. It just shows you that he’s an ace. I think it’s gonna give him more confidence, more motivation to continue on this wave that he’s been on for many, many years.”"- Marcus Stroman, via Marquee
The two have combined to give the Cubs one of the best 1-2 punches in all of baseball atop the rotation. But with Chicago six games out with a week left in the first half, questions are already swirling around the right-hander and whether or not he'll even finish the season here, regardless of how good he's been.
Buyers or sellers, the Cubs can bring Marcus Stroman back beyond 2023
In each of the last two seasons, the Cubs have been sellers at the trade deadline and they'll need to make up some ground in July if they want to avoid a similar fate this time around. Stroman, who can opt out of the third year of his deal at season's end, has sky-high trade value and could help bring in a nice haul for the front office should they choose to re-set and focus on 2024 and beyond.
But even if that's how things play out, I don't think that closes the door on Stroman playing a big role for this team past 2023. He's made it clear: he wants to be in Chicago - and even if he's traded, there's nothing to stop the Cubs from bringing him back into the fold via free agency this winter.
"I have a great relationship with Jed and Carter. It’s been awesome here. I just don’t think they’re in a position right now for me to extend my (time here). Which, I don’t even care. I feel good here. I would love for them to be in play in the offseason. I would love to have an opportunity to sign back here in free agency after the year is done. I’m super present. However it goes, it goes."- Marcus Stroman, via The Athletic
Hopefully, the Cubs close out the first half hot - and the conversation, which has gone back and forth of late, shifts back toward the team being buyers at the trade deadline. Because the Stro Show on the mound at Wrigley in October is the stuff of dreams.