5 free agents who would significantly improve 2021 Phillies
4. Marcus Stroman
The Phillies need a starting pitcher to replace Jake Arrietta, and Marcus Stroman is probably the second-best starting pitcher available, right after Trevor Bauer. However, Stroman might be the better fit for the Phils. Not only will he come at a cheaper price, but he also comes without Bauer’s reputation as a difficult teammate.
Stroman opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the pandemic, so he hasn’t pitched in Major League Baseball since 2019. However, in 2019 he was phenomenal for the Blue Jays and the Mets, pitching to a 3.22 ERA and 3.9 fWAR in 32 starts, and earning his first trip to the All-Star Game.
While Stroman struggled with injury and didn’t play nearly as well in 2018, his underlying statistics suggest that he pitched better than you might think. While his ERA was a shocking 5.54, his FIP was 3.91 and his xFIP was 3.84.
In 2016 and 2017 he was also a top of the rotation starter, pitching to a 3.3 and a 3.4 fWAR, respectively. Stroman will only be 29 years old going into 2021, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to pitch like a top of the rotation starter for the next three or four years.
A pitching staff headlined by Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Marcus Stroman would certainly strike fear into opposing team’s hitters. Furthermore, a great starting rotation will also indirectly improve the Phillies’ bullpen.
No matter how many relievers the Phillies acquire this offseason, the bullpen will still be a huge question mark going into 2021. But if the Phillies’ starting rotation is consistently able to pitch deep into games, the bullpen will be less of a concern.
The Phillies should absolutely be in the running for Stroman.