The massive bullpen crunch is such that even guys we like are gonna get squeezed at the margins, and so it is today with hard-throwing righty Robert Stock.
In order to reactivate lefty Kyle Ryan from the COVID list, the Cubs had to DFA Stock to make room on the 40-man roster. The Cubs will have a week to trade, waive, or release Stock, and your best bet is that they put him on waivers and hope he clears so that they can outright him to AAA Iowa, where they’ll get to keep him for at least one season (unless he’s called back up sooner and is re-placed on the 40-man roster).
The Cubs originally claimed Stock off of waivers from the Red Sox back in December. The 31-year-old sits 96-98 mph with his fastball and can touch triple digits, so a lot of teams would probably love to have him. The rub is that he’s out of minor league options, so if he isn’t going to make your big league team right away – it was pretty unlikely given the Cubs’ crunch – you’ll have to get him through waivers to keep him. I’m guessing he gets claimed, and another team tries to do the same thing … and then maybe again before the regular season even begins. In that way, it’s almost like being really talented is not a blessing, because he’s just shy of being an OBVIOUS roster guy, but lots of teams do want to have him around.
Hope things work out well for him one way or another, because he seems like such a positive guy. He was also immediately firing off jokes upon word of the DFA:
To any teams interested in acquiring me, I will go ahead and answer the first interview question on everyone’s mind. – No, it does not concern me that the potato formerly known as Mr. Potato Head now has an ambiguous genital situation.
— Robert Stock (@RobertStock6) February 28, 2021
Meanwhile, the Cubs still have one 40-man move to go. When Ryan Tepera’s signing is official, my guess is that Rowan Wick will hit the 60-day IL to make room.