While we await big league Spring Training to maybe start sometime this month, minor league Spring Training is underway, and the Cubs should have a couple new pitchers there. The signings look to be a couple reclamation type plays for the Cubs, where they have certainly had outsized success, at least on the relief side, the last half-decade.
First up, former Yankees prospect (and Purdue pitcher), Kyle Johnson:
Johnson, 28, has done the indy ball thing the last couple years, and apparently has a big-time velo fastball. His results have been mixed, featuring almost no hits given up … but also very few strikeouts and a ton of walks. This looks like a scouting play, and an opportunity to get a big arm into the development infrastructure and see what pops.
The Cubs also signed Eric Stout:
Stout, also 28, had more of a typical upper-level minor-league journeyman go of it, having reached the big leagues briefly with the Royals in 2018, but he was also doing the indy ball thing in 2020 and 2021. Stout added winter ball, too, pitching extremely well in the Puerto Rican Winter League. He’s been a starting pitcher, so it’s possible he’ll stay in that role as a depth option for the Cubs (or maybe they see upside in relief and wanted to work with him on that front).