The Cubs announced on Thursday that reliever Pedro Strop‘s 2019 club option worth $6.25 million has been exercised. Strop will be eligible for free agency after next season.
Strop, 33, has been one of the biggest contributors out of the Cubs’ bullpen over the last five and a half seasons. In 331 1/3 career innings with the Cubs, the right-hander owns a 2.63 ERA with 376 strikeouts and 127 walks. Last season was one of his best, as he finished with a 2.26 ERA, 13 saves, and a 57/21 K/BB ratio in 59 2/3 innings.
Brandon Morrow will reprise his role as the Cubs’ closer, but Strop will be first in line for saves in the event Morrow lands on the DL again.
Outfielder B.J. Upton went by the name B.J., short for Bossman Junior, through the 2014 season. His father Manny was known as Bossman, hence Bossman Junior. Upton decided he wanted to be referred to by his birth name Melvin starting in 2015, saying that everyone except baseball fans knew him by that name. Now, he’s back to B.J., Scott Boeck of USA TODAY Sports reports.
For those keeping score at home, Upton is the artist formerly and currently known as B.J.
Upton, 34, hasn’t played in the majors since 2016. He signed a minor league deal with the Indians in December 2017 but was released in the middle of last March and wasn’t able to latch on with another team. It seems unlikely he finds his way back to the majors.