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Pitcher Marcus Stroman Signs With Cubs With Hours To Go Before Lockout

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Marcus Stroman, arguably the top free agent starting pitcher left on the market, tweeted Wednesday that he is joining the Cubs.

The 30-year-old right-handed pitcher spent last season in New York with the Mets, and was with the Toronto Blue Jays for five-plus seasons before that.

Stroman has a career 3.63 ERA and has made 179 starts.

It so happens that Wrigley Field is the only Big League park in which Stroman has not pitched.

Major League Baseball teams scrambled to sign free agents in recent days before the collective bargaining agreement with the players' union expired late Wednesday night. MLB owners voted unanimously to institute a lockout on Thursday.

Stroman said he made a rush to Los Angeles International Airport to come to Chicago so he could get the deal done before the lockout.

"Once they told me the Cubs were in play, my senses were kind of heightened, because I knew how much I would love pitching in Chicago and pitching at Wrigley, and thankfully, they were able to work a deal out – and I kind of sprinted to LAX, like literally sprinted to LAX – and I got on the last flight here. I made it here, because if I didn't make that flight, the deal possibly couldn't have happened," he said in an interview. "Thirty-two starts, and to go 180 innings, that gave me the utmost confidence going into this year and to every year in my future, because I know I'm going to build off last year. And I know that last year, I couldn't have anything to build off. So I truly believe that these next few years, I'm going to be even better."

On Twitter, Stroman expressed his excitement to come to Chicago.

"Chicago has always been one of my favorite cities. Culture and passion everywhere," he tweeted. "Beyond excited to pitch in front one of the best fan bases in all of sports. Thank you to everyone in the city for the warm welcome. I can feel it. Let's get to work!"

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