The Cubs announced Thursday that they had exercised their $6.25 million option on righty reliever Pedro Strop. The demonstrative 33-year-old posted a 2.26 ERA and saved 13 games in 2018, many of which came as he filled in more than admirably for the injured Brandon Morrow down the stretch.
Well, until Strop himself then fell prey to the injury bug, pulling his hamstring while running to first following an ill-advised at-bat in Washington.
Though detractors will point to his cocked hat and aberrant poor performances, Strop has established himself as one of the greatest relievers in Cubs history. His 114 holds are the team’s most all time and his 2.63 ERA is second to only Bruce Sutter (2.39). Strop has rung up 376 batters in 331.1 innings pitched (10.2 K/9) and has a 1.02 WHIP while limiting opponents to a .181 batting average, .276 slugging percentage, and a .548 OPS during his time in Chicago.
Since the trade that sent Strop and some Jake Arrieta guy from Baltimore to Chicago on July 2, 2013, exactly zero NL relievers have held opponents to a lower batting average or slugging percentage and only one (the press release didn’t list him) has a lower OPS against. That, folks, is elite. So I say again: Pedro Strop is one of the greatest relievers in Cubs history.
One player who probably isn’t destined for such praise is Johnny Field, the former Twins and Rays outfielder claimed off waivers by the Cubs Thursday afternoon. The 26-year-old debuted with Tampa and ended the season in Minnesota, batting .222 (49-for-221) with 13 doubles, nine home runs, and 21 RBI in 83 games. He has hit .270 (572-for-2,121) with a .771 OPS over six minor league seasons.
The righty-batting Field was selected by the Rays in the fifth round of the 2013 draft out of Arizona and is capable of playing all three outfield positions. This feels like an organizational depth move, but perhaps the Cubs see something interesting in Field that doesn’t necessarily jump out of the box score. I suppose we’ll find out this spring.
The Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 36.