If Marcus Stroman signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs. shortly before the lockout, he believed it was a sign of the organization’s commitment to victory.
In the end, the Cubs gave him the fourth-largest contract among starting pitchers in the offseason. At the time, Stroman noted that the Cubs were “definitely not in a full rebuild, they definitely want to win now” because of their signing him.
Stroman, however, also stated that “you never know what you’re going to get in any given year.”
This season marks another sellout at the trade deadline for Stroman and the Cubs, as they enter Saturday with the seventh-worst record in baseball despite winning seven of their last eight games after Friday’s 4-0 win against the Giants -2.
Stroman threw six shutout innings in the win, continuing his stellar streak. In four starts since coming off the injured list, Stroman has allowed just two runs in 20⅓ innings with a 0.89 ERA.
Friday also marked the last time before the trade deadline that Stroman teamed up with Willson Contreras at the plate. In five starts combined, Stroman has a 3.08 ERA. The veteran right-hander knows what’s in store for Contreras and the Cubs by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
Stroman called the three-time All-Star a “franchise cornerstone” for his contribution to the Cubs’ postseason run.
“This is special. I think we’re all going to miss Wilson,” Stroman said. “He’s still on our team, but you almost know what’s going to happen with the hugs and everything, like it was at Wrigley at the last home game. We are very grateful for him.
“He’s going to be great. His career is just beginning. I think he’s going to be a consistent All-Star, but it sure sucks to lose a guy like Wilson, a guy who shows up every day and fights at his best. It’s hard to find.”
That’s the awkward position the Cubs players and staff find themselves in, waiting every day for something to happen while still trying to win.
“The two days at Wrigley were emotional because you knew you weren’t coming back,” outfielder Ian Happ said Friday. “And now you’re just playing baseball and trying to help the team win. Getting back into the rhythm of it and really trying to enjoy every second at the club.”
Happ has not received word from president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer or anyone in the front office on whether he will be traded before the deadline. But it’s clear that Hap is preparing as if that will be the outcome.
“The players are always the last to know,” Happ said. “Who knows what will happen if something happens. … Obviously you’re aware of what’s going on, as are the (MLB trade) rumors. Personal (trade) rumours, not so much, but just generally what is happening, how it is happening.”