In the middle of May rumors were running rampant that Jed Hoyer would be trading Marcus Stroman before the all-star break. Then the closer we got to the break those rumors quieted down significantly as his agent was using the media to demand Hoyer start talking extension with him.
The week before the all-star break, Stroman announced he was taking a back road and not playing in the All-star game, saying he needed the rest to prepare for the second half of the season. After the break, the Cubs went on a bit of a run and forced Jed’s hand into being a buyer. Even as a buyer, it was still expected that Stroman would be traded by the deadline since the Cubs were stretching Hayden Wesneski out to be a starter down in Iowa.
Leading up to the deadline many local reporters in Chicago were saying that they would not be surprised to see Stroman placed on the Injured List (IL) any day with a “fake” injury. Sure enough, the day after the deadline before the game Marcus was placed on the IL with a hip injury and was expected to return against White Sox. However, last Wednesday it was announced that he has a rib cage fracture and there is no timeline for his return.
More than once in an interview last week after that announcement Jed was hesitant to discuss the injury or anything about Stroman’s availability for the rest of the season… saying that being around the game for 30 years this is the first time he ever heard of a pitcher having such an injury as a result of something that happened during a game. This immediately made me start questioning if this is the “fake” injury reporters saw coming. It did not help at all that Marcus himself when asked about the injury a few days ago at Wrigley hesitated and told one reporter he might be done for the season.
Here’s the thing folks: Marcus had a very horrid July not getting out of the third inning in three of his starts and not pitching in the sixth inning in a fourth start. He has a player option to return to the Cubs next year. If this injury is indeed something that has been ailing him since June causing his season to go downhill then he has not played his last game as a Cub.
Thing is: I do think he is done for the season as a result of the injury which means he will likely pick up that player option. Which hasn’t changed since mid-May when those rumors started ramping up that he’d be traded. It only made sense that he would pick up the option if he was traded to give Jed the middle finger and work out a multi-year extension with the team that traded for him. The trade never happened though and if this injury is not a “fake” injury there is no way he will get the $21 million his player option will pay him to return to Wrigley in 2024 as a free agent.
Comeback player of the year in 2024, anyone? Only time will tell.
With that… let’s put the Stroman talk behind us until this winter.
If you cannot play with them, root for them!