Should the Cubs re-sign Pedro Strop?

by - Staff Writer -
Tim Heitman - USA Today Sports
Tim Heitman - USA Today Sports

Pedro Strop came to the Chicago Cubs in one of the best trades the organization has ever made. Strop was shipped with future Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for the Cubs’ Scott Feldman.

Obviously, Arrietta’s accomplishments are well recognized, but what should not be overlooked is Pedro Strop’s consistency in his career.

2013 was Strop’s first season on the Northside, and he pitched to the tune of a 2.21 ERA in 37 games. 324 games and almost 300 innings later, Strop had completed his sixth year and Cubbie blue and was recognized as one of the best relievers in Cubs history.

In his first six seasons with the Cubs, Strop never finished a season with an ERA above 2.91, showcasing his dominating consistency. After an injury-ridden 2018, Strop was unable to find his groove throughout the 2019 campaign, leading to his worst statistical season. Strop’s ERA sat above five for the majority of the season, and his velocity stats saw a consistent dip in addition to dealing with more injuries.

Many Cubs fans had lost their love for the tilted hat guy, and even Joe Maddon’s coaching staff went other ways in high leverage situations, the same scenarios he called home for the previous half-decade. Strop ended the year appearing in 50 games, his lowest in a season since 2011. He also had a 4.97 ERA, his highest since 2013. Not a great display considering he was in a contract year.

The Cubs knew it may be the last of Strop and chose to toast him when they celebrated Joe Maddon and Ben Zobrist in St. Louis.

But should it be the end?

Odds are Pedro is not retiring, and after a down year, he should come at a discounted price, so maybe the Cubs should splurge on a low-cost, low-risk deal for one of the best relievers of recent history. But do the Cubs want to take a flier on a guy who blew a handful of games in high leverage spots this year, and count on him improving?

Those are the questions that Theo Epstein and Co. will need to answer before they decide to bring back a player who has almost appeared in more games as a pitcher than any player ever.

Strop has also been known as a leader of the clubhouse, preaching accountability to the younger guys. He uniquely connects with the Hispanic players like Javy, who he consistently talks to about in-game adjustments and playing the game the right way.

If this is the end for Strop, It’s important not to let one bad year ruin the legacy he has built over the previous six. If the 2020 roster doesn’t have Strop on it, maybe Craig Kimbrel can slant his hat or something.

But the 34-year-old has madrone thing clear he wants to stay at home with the Cubs.

"If I'm starting negotiations with the Cubs, it doesn't have to be that difficult...they know this is my house here,” Strop said.

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