A successful Major League Baseball team can never have too much pitching. The Rays certainly know this, and will likely be looking into adding one or more arms to the staff to help eat innings and prevent runs. While this website has already covered several potential trade targets for the Rays, a new name has emerged as a potential piece for the team: Marcus Stroman.
Rays fans likely know Marcus Stroman for being the face of the rival Blue Jays’ rotation in the late 2010s. He is now a member of the Chicago Cubs, and is having a resurgent year. Rays fans have seen Stroman’s prowess firsthand earlier in the season, in a game where he recorded his second career complete game shutout.
Yet, despite Stroman performing well up to this point in the season, the combination of the Cubs’ below-average record and Stroman’s uncertain future with the club has led to many teams checking in to see if he would be available via trade. The Rays are one such team, as they have reportedly begun “doing homework” on an acquisition of the right-handed pitcher.
Marcus Stroman's groundball rate makes him a perfect fit for the Tampa Bay Rays
Marcus Stroman derives his success primarily from his elite ability to get groundballs. In 2023, he has the second-highest groundball rate among qualified starting pitchers per Fangraphs, with an impressive 57.8%. Stroman has consistently seen success in this area throughout his career, as he has never had a season with a groundball rate below 50%.
The high groundball numbers of Stroman make him the perfect match for the Rays. The Rays have one of the best infields defensively, led by the incredible athleticism of Wander Franco and Taylor Walls. This partnership really could be perfect, as the infield will make the plays needed to allow a contact manager to be successful, while Stroman would handle keeping the ball in the yard.
With a 3.09 ERA and 2.5 fWAR, Marcus Stroman is pitching like an ace this year. These numbers will make him one of the most sought-after players on the market, as many teams need pitching. It is likely though that even with this success, Stroman’s opt-out and reported willingness to test the market will keep the price tag down.
Marcus Stroman is one of the game’s best contact managers and is one of the very best players available for trade. He fits the Rays’ needs perfectly and seems like a good candidate for acquisition by the team. What the Rays are planning for the August 2 deadline is currently unknown at this time, but Stroman is almost certainly on the team’s shortlist.