Blue Jays: Potential pitching depth targets ahead of the trade deadline

Jun 6, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (31) follows
Jun 6, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (31) follows / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Starters Marcus Stroman and Kyle Hendriks of the Chicago Cubs

While a long shot at best, how would Jays fans feel about a reunion with former ace Marcus Stroman? He’s currently anchoring the Cubs rotation on a 28-36 team that’s 5.5 games back in the NL wild card standings. While he has a player option to return to Chicago next year for $21 million, the now-32-year-old Stroman could also choose to opt-out of his contract and test free agency again.

With Cubs President Jed Hoyer seemingly uninterested in exploring a long-term contract extension with Stroman according to MLB Trade Rumours here, it could imply that the Cubs will be sellers for a third straight deadline, with Stroman likely their most attractive talent to trade? He’s been outstanding again this season, with a bWAR of 3.3 on the back of a 7-4 record and 2.42 ERA over 14 starts and 85.2 innings, with an ERA+ of 184 and WHIP of 1.039.

If the Cubs are sellers, they could also move starter Kyle Hendricks and reliever Michael Fulmer, who is a pending free agent. Chicago has a $16 million club option on Hendricks for 2024, which could look like a major bargain if the 33-year old righty keeps pitching like he has been since returning from the IL in late May. Hendricks had a no-hitter going into the 8th inning on Saturday against the SF Giants, and has a 3.09 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over 23.1 innings in his four starts since returning from a capsular tear in his right shoulder last July.

He’s the last player remaining on the Cubs roster from their 2016 World Series team, and has a career ERA of 3.46 in nine years with Chicago, including the 2016 NL ERA title. His postseason resume includes a 3.12 ERA in 12 appearances and 11 starts over 57.2 innings with a 51:16 K:BB ratio. In the 2016 World Series, he only allowed one earned run in 9.0 innings pitched over two starts, helping the Cubs to a 4-3 series victory over Cleveland.