Why the Yankees should (but won’t) make a bid for Cubs’ Marcus Stroman at MLB trade deadline

Over the next 47 days, before the trade deadline arrives on Aug. 1, the Yankees will determine what sort of pitching they’ll need to add to their roster for the postseason push.

For a while, it appeared they would need a proven closer, but Clay Holmes might have worked the kinks out of his delivery and is dominating like he did in the first half of last season, when he was named to the All-Star Game. He shut down the Mets with a dramatic eighth-inning escape on Tuesday.

If Holmes can reclaim the closer’s role he lost, the Yankees could switch their attention to the rotation.


And perhaps the most desirable starter on the market will be ex-Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman, who can’t seem to squeeze an extension out of the Cubs no matter how hard he tries on Twitter.

Stroman, 32, is in the second year of a three-year, $71 million contract with the Cubs, and he wants more money and security. Despite his team’s 30-37 record, Stroman is 7-4 with a National League-best 2.42 ERA. His 3.4 WAR is 10 points higher than the next-best NL pitcher, Bryce Elder of the Braves, who has a 2.4 WAR, according to Baseball Reference.

Normally, that would get the Yankees’ attention, especially with Luis Severino getting slapped around and Carlos Rodon yet to throw a pitch for his new team.

But putting Stroman into the Yankees’ buttoned-down clubhouse is problematic. Stroman speaks his mind, and that’s not always welcomed in the Bronx. Think Clint Frazier.

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

He loves the Cubs, but not enough to zip his Twitter lip.

“Yeah, I have no problem with them,” Stroman told The Athletic. “There’s no problem. It’s just, like I said, there’s been no offer. There’s been no extension talks. My agent and I have been very open, pretty much multiple times a month, saying, ‘Hey, let’s sit down. Let’s talk. Let’s get something done.’ There’s been nothing from their point (of view). … Yeah, I would truly love to stay a Cub. You never know how it’s going to play out. I’m also very aware of that, too.

“That tweet wasn’t like a shot.”

But it was public, and that’s not behavior the Yankees would invite.

Last month, when Stroman celebrated — maybe too strenuously — against the Mets, he was criticized.

“What did we do to him?” an anonymous Mets player asked after the loss, according to the New York Post. Another added: “Show some respect. Be a professional. It isn’t all about you.”

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If the Cubs decide not to extend Stroman, he’ll be a widely desired trade target. On Sunday, he allowed two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings, struck out five and walked four in his team-leading 14th start of the year.

It’s more likely Stroman would end up back in Toronto, where he started his career over six seasons. With Alek Manoah sent to the minors, the Blue Jays — battling for a wild card spot in the majors’ toughest division — have a glaring need.


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Bridget Hyland may be reached at bhyland@njadvancemedia.com.