Cubs Sign RHP Kohl Stewart to Big League Deal
The Cubs announced Thursday that they have agreed to a major league deal with righty Kohl Stewart, a former top draft pick of the Twins. The 26-year-old was selected fourth overall in 2013, just two spots behind Kris Bryant, but he hasn’t quite lived up to that spot with a 4.79 ERA in 62 career innings. He was outrighted following the 2019 season and signed a split contract with the Orioles, but never pitched for them.
Stewart, who has Type 1 diabetes, hasn’t opted out of the 2020 season after his first scheduled start against the Marlins was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. He made two starts out of nine total appearances with the Twins in 2019, posting a 6.39 ERA with a 6.06 FIP. Even less appealing, he had just 10 strikeouts with eight walks over 25.1 innings.
Since he’s a sinker-baller who has historically generated high groundball rates, the Cubs are probably counting on Stewart to keep the ball in the yard as a long reliever or swingman. As they seek to build pitching depth on the cheap, the real goal is being able to eat innings on a regular basis. Whatever happens, any risk is mitigated by a $700,000 guarantee.
That’s not much for a baseball contract, but it’s a helluva lot of Kohl’s Cash.
The Cubs have been connected to several other pitchers looking to bounce back from injuries and/or disappointing performance, so expect more signings like this.