Virtually nobody saw the 2023 Chicago Cubs as a team that would sniff contention in the current campaign. With a team that felt like it was stuck right in the middle of rebuilding and contending, the 40-46 record they've posted through 86 games is not all that surprising.
On the roster, multiple trade chips are beginning to emerge, especially as the club continues to lose ballgames. In their last 10 games, the Cubs have gone 3-7 and are currently 8 GB of the first place Reds in the NL Central.
With the trade deadline quickly approaching, Marcus Stroman is starting to look like an increasingly likely option to be moved. The right-hander has been vocal about wanting to stay in Chicago and has even gone on social media to say that he's tried to negotiate an extension already, but the team wasn't biting. So, does that make him one of the more attractive trade chips on the market? You bet it does.
While there are sure to be plenty of teams calling on his availability, the Phillies feel like they could be a fit. As a matter of fact, rumblings around the industry are already beginning to suggest that the club could have the two-time All-Star on their radar.
Stroman, 32, is in the second of a two-year deal he signed prior to the beginning of last season. While he's been one of the better starters in the NL, it's worth noting that his contract does have a player option for next year, so any acquiring team at the deadline may not have him strictly as a rental.
The fit is absolutely there for Stroman to become a key cog in this Phillies' starting rotation. While Aaron Nola has been turning it around lately, he has still scuffled a bit throughout the year. Zack Wheeler has been inconsistent, too, but Ranger Suárez, Taijuan Walker and even Cristopher Sánchez have been solid arms for the majority of the season. Four strong starters should be a solid plan of action for the Phillies as they eye a spot in the postseason, but adding Stroman would be the cherry on top.
In 19 starts this year, the nine-year veteran is 9-6 with a 2.96 ERA, 3.41 FIP and 150 ERA+. He continues to rely heavily on the groundball thanks to his heavy sinker and has been doing an incredible job of limiting home runs and hits in general. As a matter of fact, he currently leads the National League in H/9 with 6.7, only 84 in 112+ innings of work.
The Phillies have enough prospect capital to make a deal work, too. While most of the organization's top prospects (Painter, Abel, Crawford) are likely off limits, most other names should be fair game. Perhaps a high-end position player and a lower-end pitching prospect would be enough to at least get the attention of the Cubs?