Mariners Free Agent Target: Marcus Stroman

Earlier this month, Marcus Stroman opted out of his contract with the Chicago Cubs. He was due to make $21,000,000 in 2024, but he chose to leave the Cubbies. Would he be a fit with the Mariners?
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

In a somewhat surprising move, Marcus Stroman opted out of his last year as a Chicago Cub. He was due to make $21,000,000 in 2024, but will instead test the free agency waters. Stroman was drafted in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. The 2-time All-Star has pitched for the Blue Jays, Mets, and Cubs in his 9 years.

Stroman's 2023 season is a tale of two halves. Before the All-Star break, he was a Cy Young contender. He had an ERA of 2.96 through 112.2 innings. He then spent about 6 weeks on the Injured List, with inflammation and a rib fracture. He came back in mid-September but never pitched more than 3 innings at a time, and had an ERA of 5.63 in 8 innings. He finished the season with a record of 10-9, with a 3.95 ERA.

Marcus Stroman has never been a strikeout pitcher. His career K/9 is 7.5. He is an extreme groundball pitcher, with limited Home Runs. He only gave up 9 Home Runs in 136.2 innings in 2023. That is really impressive, considering how wild Wrigley Field can be. Imagine his numbers in T-Mobile Park, with the infield defense the Mariners have. According to Baseball Savant, Stroman is in the 94th percentile for Groundball percentage (57.4%) and barrel percentage (5.0%). That will most definitely play in Seattle.

Marcus has a 6 pitch repertoire. He throws a 4-seam fastball, splitter, sinker, slider, cutter, and a slurve. His average fastball velocity sits around 92 MPH. He threw his sinker the most in 2023, about 46% of the time. His Slurve was his second most-thrown pitch, at 22.9%. With the Mariners pitching lab, I get really excited to think about what Stroman would do in a Mariners uniform.

What would the contract look like for Stroman? Given that he turned down $21,000,000 with the Cubs, I would think he signs for close to $25,000,000 per season. 2023 was looking like it was going to be the best season of his career, had he not got injured. Maybe he would be interested in a similar deal that he signed with the Cubs? He signed a 3-year deal back in 2022, where he made $25M in 2022 and 2033, with a player option of $21M in 2024. Maybe a similar deal would get him to sign, but any more money than that I think would be an overpay.

Obviously, the Seattle Mariners are not in serious need of a front-line starter. They already have Luis Castillo, George Kirby, Logan Gilbert, and others. So, why am I writing about the idea of signing Marcus Stroman? Well, If the Mariners are interested in bringing in Stroman, the idea would be that the team would be trading pitching for offense. The most likely pitchers the Mariners would trade would be either Bryan Woo or Bryce Miller. That really is the only scenario I see the Mariners signing Stroman. As always, Go Mariners!