Cubs sign pitcher Kohl Stewart to MLB deal

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After letting two pitchers go this winter, the Chicago Cubs sign a former fourth overall pick.

The Chicago Cubs spent more time shedding salary this offseason than making additions to their roster. The team that won the World Series four years ago declined the 2021 option for veteran pitcher Jon Lester this winter and traded Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres to free up $59 million off the books. After signing the likes of Jonathan Holder and Austin Romine, the Cubs have made another signing, albeit a minor one.

According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Cubs have signed right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart to an MLB deal worth $700,000. With this signing, the entire NL Central has spent a grand total of $4.4 million this offseason, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Cubs giving Stewart a chance

Stewart was the fourth overall pick of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, two picks after the Cubs selected third baseman Kris Bryant. The right-hander out of St. Pius High School in Houston, TX  spent the better part of five seasons in the minor leagues before he finally got his shot in the majors.

In 2018 at the age of 23, Stewart made his MLB debut. The right-hander participated in eight games, where he recorded a 3.68 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 36.2 innings of work. Stewart would return to the major league roster in 2019, but his production took a nose dive. Through nine games, Stewart posted a 6.39 ERA and 1.461 WHIP through 25.1 innings of work.

After getting outrighted by the Twins, Stewart signed on with the Baltimore Orioles. Stewart opted out of the 2020 season due to being a Type 1 diabetic and being considered high-risk for COVID-19.

Given the losses to their starting rotation, Stewart slots in as a back-end option behind Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Alec Mills and Adbert Alzolay.

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