Cubs Rumors: Latest Ohtani buzz, Pete Alonso Plan B, cutting major ties

  • Cubs, Marcus Stroman heading in different directions
  • Cubs could target Rhys Hoskins instead of Pete Alonso
  • Chicago on shortlist of Shohei Ohtani favorites

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Cubs Rumors: Marcus Stroman not expected to return to Chicago

Marcus Stroman declined his $21 million contract option with the Chicago Cubs in favor of free agency. Last season was a roller coaster for the 32-year-old, who began the campaign at a Cy Young pace before injuries sapped away his momentum down the stretch.

He finished the season with a 10-9 record, posting a 3.95 ERA and 1.259 WHIP. While Storman won't get the same long-term financial commitment as other top starters in this free agent class, he's a two-time All-Star who, when right, can match just about anybody pitch-for-pitch.

Stroman's 57.4 percent ground ball rate last season fell in the MLB's 94th percentile, per Baseball Savant. He keeps the ball in play for his defense. He is going to have suitors all over the country, but for the Cubs, it would appear Stroman is no longer part of the plan.

Chicago took an "open-minded approach" at the GM meetings in Arizona, according to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic. The Cubs have three locks in the starting rotation — Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks, and Jameson Taillon — and could "see an opportunity" to add a top-of-the-rotation starter, per Mooney. He also notes the possibility of Chicago prioritizing the bullpen given Craig Counsell's history of successful bullpen management.

There's always a chance the two sides can come back together — Jed Hoyer called Stroman "a good match for us" — but after a rocky season, during which Stroman publicly called out the front office's lack of engagement on the extension front, it would appear of change of scenery is the most likely outcome.