The moment news broke that Pedro Strop had been DFA’d by the Reds, legions of Cubs fans were turning their hats to the left and hoping the reliever would end up back in Chicago. Well, it looks like they’ve gotten their wish, at least to some extent. From the look of the short clips in his Instagram Story, Strop just drove from Cincinnati to the Windy City.
I’ve only made the drive up I-65 a few million times, so I feel pretty good about saying that he’s somewhere in White or Benton County in the first two images below. And it doesn’t take careful observation to see that he’s definitely in Chicago in the last one.
So he’s there to sign with the Cubs, right? Maybe, except that the Cubs are in Cincy right now to take on the Reds. But since the front office leaders are probably hunkering down at their Wrigley-adjacent digs, any deal might need to run through Cubs HQ. Besides, Strop might need some time at the alternate site in South Bend first.
Or maybe it’s got nothing to do with a new deal and he’s just there to enjoy summer in the city with a couple of his buddies. Not that there’s much to do, but Chicago’s got to be a better place to kick it than Cincy.
Okay, let’s say the Cubs are bringing him back. Strop has got to cut down on the walks that doomed him with the Reds. Though he only allowed one hit in 2.1 innings over four appearances, he handed out six free passes in that same time. His fastball velocity is way down as well, perhaps due in part to a groin issue that had him on the IL until Wednesday, averaging just 92 mph after sitting under 94 mph last year. And that was a big drop from the 95-96 in previous seasons.
A reliever who can’t find the zone with decreased velo isn’t of much use, but the Cubs know how much value Strop brings as a leader and might believe he can find that old spark again. Or, again, maybe this has nothing to do with the Cubs.