Stroman hoping to engage Cubs in contract extension talks

June 10th, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO -- Starter , who has bulled his way to the top of early National League Cy Young Award conversation, has been vocal with his desire to remain a Cub for years to come. On Saturday, he conveyed that again in a powerful way.

Responding to a tweet from a fan that trumpeted Stroman’s dominating statistics this season, the 32-year-old right-hander revealed that he and his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, have made “multiple attempts” to engage the Cubs about a contract extension, but the club was “not interested in exploring it now.”

Speaking to reporters before Saturday’s game against the Giants, Stroman elaborated that he and Van Wagenen have tried to engage the Cubs since Spring Training.

Stroman insisted he did not mean the tweet as a “shot” at anybody. Indeed, the tweet concluded, “Love everything about the Cubs organization.”

Nonetheless, Stroman acknowledged that the timing and substance of his tweet were strategic, coming amid increased talk that the Cubs might sell before the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline and he would be their prime asset to deal.

Stroman said he wanted to get ahead of a potential narrative that could come from the media or front office suggesting he did not want an extension or sought too much money.

“I felt like after my last start, all I’m seeing is ‘Extend him’ and 'Why isn’t he not extended?'” Stroman said. “That’s all I’m seeing from the fan base. And like I’ve said I love everything about the fan base. So I’m just putting that out there because I don't want the narrative to be skewed against me, and in a few weeks they’re saying, ‘Oh, Stro doesn’t want to be here. He’s throwing up this crazy number.’"

In fact, Stroman said his side has not suggested a number at all but merely has tried to start a conversation.

Stroman said he has no issues now with the front office, led by president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer, but he was clear that in general negative narratives come from the “top down,” meaning the top of the organization.

“I’m not going to allow myself to be on the other side of the narrative that’s created,” he said. “I was in New York. I’ve seen how this works.”

Hoyer told Cubs beat reporters in Anaheim earlier this week that he is not going to discuss Stroman’s contract, although he said he is sure he will have conversations with Stroman’s camp before the Trade Deadline.

Hoyer said he was more focused on a turnaround for a team that entered Saturday in fourth place in the NL Central at 27-36, but only 6 1/2 games behind division co-leaders Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.

“Obviously he’s thrown great this year,” Hoyer said. “And our focus is, we just need to be consistent as a team and kind of claw our way back to the race.”

Whether or not the Cubs extend Stroman, he is positioning himself for a big payday as soon as this offseason after he concludes the second year of a three-year, $71 million contract. He can opt out after the World Series and reenter the free-agent market rather than return to the Cubs for the $21 million he would earn in 2024 under his deal.

After pitching the Cubs to a 3-2 victory against the Giants on Friday night, Stroman led the Majors with a 3.4 WAR under Baseball-Reference’s calculations. He also ranked second in the NL in ERA (2.42) while leading the league in innings (85 2/3) and WHIP (1.04).