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Cubs work to address pitching need with Kohl Stewart signing

12 months agoTony Andracki

The Cubs’ pitching puzzle became a bit more clear Thursday afternoon.

The team reached an agreement on a major-league deal with right-hander Kohl Stewart. The 26-year-old was the 4th overall pick (Minnesota Twins) in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, two picks behind Kris Bryant.

Stewart went 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA as a rookie in 2018 with the Twins, making 4 starts and 4 relief appearances. He struggled in 2019 to the tune of a 6.39 ERA in 9 outings (2 starts) and became a free agent after the season.

He signed with the Baltimore Orioles in December of 2019 but ultimately opted out last season to avoid the risk of playing during COVID-19 as a Type 1 diabetic.

With spring training only a few weeks away, arguably the biggest question facing this Cubs roster was where the pitching was going to come from after losing several veteran arms to free agency.

In Stewart, the Cubs have partially answered that question. He represents the third big-league deal they’ve handed out this winter (also catcher Austin Romine and reliever Jonathan Holder).

As he came up through the Twins system, Stewart spent most of his time as a starter but his experience at the major-league level as a reliever makes him a valuable depth piece for the Cubs.

Stewart is a another solid buy-low candidate for the organization, boasting the upside and potential that made him such a high draft pick seven years ago. He was ranked as one of baseball’s top prospects in 2014 and 15, topping out at No. 28 on Baseball Prospectus’ list.

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