Pitching is the key to success at all levels of baseball, especially in MLB, where elite arms are pivotal to teams with an opportunity to compete for a World Series title against some of the best hitters in the world.
Marcus Stroman is one of those elite pitchers still on the free agent market and waiting to be signed by a team. The former Chicago Cubs pitcher is a 2017 Golden Glove recipient and two-time All-Star who has been dealing with the best of them the past two seasons. With Baseball’s Winter Meetings underway (Dec. 3-6) in Tennessee, teams will be moving and shaking and trying to improve for next season.
Stroman is coming off a 2023 season that in his first 16 starts as a pitcher saw post a record of 9-4 with an ERA of 2.28. Despite his success, the Cubs didn’t step up to get a contract done with Stroman, so he opted out of his deal, leaving $21 million on the table. Injuries have been the only concern with Stroman, who has proved to be an adequate workhorse despite some stints on the DL.
Marcus Stroman A Great Potential Fit In Baltimore
Stroman was willing to bet on himself as this year’s pitching free agency class is considered weaker than in years past. One team that could use a pitcher is the Baltimore Orioles who finished with 101 wins last season, and whose current pitching rotation looks to be made up of a group of unheralded guys: Grayson Rodriguez, Kyle Bradish, John Means, Dean Kremer, and Cole Irvin.
Some of the pitchers on the market from their team last year are MLBbros “Black” Jack Flaherty and Mychal Givens, and Jorge Lopez to name a few. Their best starting pitcher from last season, former All-Star Kyle Gibson, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals on a one-year deal worth $13 million.
So why does Stroman make sense for the Baltimore Orioles?
There were rumors around the 2023 trade deadline that Stroman would be a great trade piece for the LA Dodgers who lost key arms to injury, age and legal problems.
However, that never materialized and now Stroman is free to sign with any team he wants.
Stroman gives the Orioles needed depth in their pitching department. Outside of Bradish, the Orioles pitching crew leaves a lot to be desired and Stroman can come in immediately and be one of the team’s best pitchers.
Means is a solid starting pitcher but he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery and who knows how effective he will be. Also, losing Gibson who pitched 192 innings for them last season, leaves a big hole that needs to be filled at the top of the rotation.
Besides the rib cartilage fracture, which Stroman suffered on August 16 that kept him sidelined until September 15, Stroman’s been durable enough to help impact the standings.
Stroman fits the Orioles’ style of pitching as he utilizes the ground ball 46% of the time, which he did last season according to Pitcher List. He’s more than just a ground ball pitcher as he’s also capable of using the four-seamer, slider, curveball, and cutter to show his versatility as a pitcher which is what the Orioles desperately need.
Reports say Stroman is looking for a multi-year deal of two to three years totaling around $50-75 million as he embarks on his 10th MLB season.
The Orioles currently have the lowest total payroll ($30,111,668) out of all the 30 MLB teams according to MLB team payroll tracker. So, they definitely have a bag to throw Stroman’s way.
in all of baseball have a projected payroll of just $60 million which should allow them to sign Stroman for what he’s looking for.
There will be other teams as well Stroman would fit nicely with from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Cincinnati Reds, but the Orioles make the most sense due to their need at the position, being in contention, and many available pitches for the two-time All-Star.
Wherever Stroman ends up, he will immediately immerse himself in the community and be a great inspiration for kids and the fans.