Chicago Cubs star Marcus Stroman throws a pitch vs the San Francisco Giants. Jun 9, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (0) delivers a pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

After there were hopes the Chicago Cubs may take a big step forward in 2023, it’s instead looked a lot like their 2021 and 2022 seasons so far. Chicago enters play on Saturday with a 27-36, 6.5 games back in the NL Central.

It hasn’t all been bad for the Cubs, though.

Chicago came away with a 3-2 road victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night, led by another excellent start from Marcus Stroman. He allowed two earned runs over 6 2/3 innings pitched.

Stroman now has a pristine 2.42 ERA on the season. According to Baseball Reference, Stroman leads all National League players — that’s all players, not just pitchers — in wins above replacement at 3.4; he trails only the Tampa Bay Rays’ Wander Franco (3.7 bWAR) for the MLB lead.

The right-hander’s 61.0 groundball percentage is the highest in the majors, and it’s worked beautifully with elite middle-infield defenders behind him in shortstop Dansby Swanson and second baseman Nico Hoerner. The Cubs signed Swanson to a seven-year, $177 million deal over the offseason, and they signed Hoerner to a three-year, $35 million extension that will keep him in Chicago through 2026.

So, it would make a whole lot of sense for the Cubs to want to keep Stroman long-term too, right?

In multiple instances over the last month, Stroman — who can opt out of his three-year, $71 million contract after the season — has told the media about his desire to sign an extension with the Cubs.

For example, Stroman told the Chicago Sun-Times in May, “I’ve been open with the front office here, been very vocal that I want to be here and I want an extension, that I don’t want to honestly make it to free agency.”

Well, on Saturday, Stroman responded to a Twitter account that listed stats showing his brilliance on the season.

Stroman tweeted, “My agent and I made multiple attempts to engage them on an extension. Club wasn’t interested in exploring it now. Will see how it plays out! Love everything about the @Cubs organization!”

So, Stroman suggests that he and his agent have tried to get into discussions for an extension, and the organization “wasn’t interested in exploring it now.”

Maybe the Cubs will finally show interest in trying to get an extension done with how well Stroman has pitched, and after they invested in an infield tailored to his skillset. Frankly, it would make very little sense on the surface for the Cubs to not want to keep Stroman around, and it would just add more questions about what’s turned into a lengthy rebuild for a big-market franchise that won the World Series in 2016.

But the Aug. 1 trade deadline is right around the corner, and Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer has traded several stars — Yu Darvish, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez, etc. — over the last few years in an effort to rebuild the farm system. If the front office isn’t interested in signing Stroman to an extension, then it’s safe to assume that they would look to trade him for a haul of prospects in the coming weeks.

The Cubs’ fan base has been very patient during this process, but selling on players like Stroman this far into the rebuild would not be received well.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at