Orioles sign right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles sign right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

The Orioles signed right-handed pitcher Kohl Stewart as a free agent on Sunday. Stewart, 25, was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft by the Minnesota Twins. He was 4-3 with a 4.79 ERA in 17 games with Minnesota, six of them starts, in 2018 and 2019.

Stewart is the first major league free agent signed by the Orioles this offseason and is a candidate to start.

Earlier this month, the Orioles added two pitchers in the Rule 5 draft who are also possibilities for the starting rotation, right-handers Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker.

Since the Orioles traded starting pitcher Dylan Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels on December 3 for four minor league pitchers, they’ve been looking for potential starters.

Stewart joins Bailey, Rucker and incumbents John Means, Alex Cobb, Asher Wojciechowski and David Hess in the rotation competition.

At the Winter Meetings in San Diego, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said he wanted “as many as possible” to compete for the rotation, and manager Brandon Hyde said he’d like at least eight candidates.

To make room for Stewart on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designed right-handed Marcos Diplán for assignment. Diplán had been claimed on waivers from Detroit on December 8.

NOTE: According to the New York Post, former Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who underwent labrum surgery on his right shoulder, will work out during spring training for interested teams. Tillman did not pitch in 2019.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    December 29, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Isn’t everyone in consideration for a starting pitcher w/the O’s…MLB network had an hour show on the 1983 season, highlight of my off season so far…go O’s…

  2. Bman

    December 29, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Elias likes those high pedigree, high potential guys (ie, #4 overall pick) – not bad! I like the strategy. Who knows, maybe catch fire in a bottle with one or more of these pickups. Something to look forward to anyway during spring training.

  3. Frank Howard LF-1B

    December 29, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    A few years back the Twins were really excited about this big moose of a pitcher:

    “At St. Pius X High School in Houston, Stewart was a legendary athlete. A star quarterback, he was widely recruited before signing a letter of intent with Texas A&M. Calling signals on Saturday for the Aggies was undoubtedly a dream of his while growing up 90 minutes away from campus, but ultimately he decided to follow his golden right arm in another direction.

    When the Twins drafted Stewart fourth overall, the allure of a $4.5 million signing bonus was too much to pass up. …..

    But Stewart had all the requisites. A football player’s build. A hard-moving fastball to go along with a potentially dominant slider. The prototypical bulldog demeanor on the mound. Ace upside.”

    This was taken from “TwinsDaily dot com” in 2017.

    And the young fellow seems healthy. Elias gets insufficient credit for talent evaluation … and his staff of mathematicians too. Give Stewart the ball.

    Welcome Back from Xmas, Rich Dubroff! Let’s be positive. There’s no reason to expect the Orioles to win fewer than 72 this year. They have some talent. All they have to do is be healthier.

    • VICTORTEE

      December 30, 2019 at 8:34 am

      He will get credit when guys actually perform well and the team isn’t terrible.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 30, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Talent? Did you say Talent?

      • Bancells Moustache

        December 30, 2019 at 11:39 am

        72 wins? Did he say 72 wins?!

  4. BirdsCaps

    December 29, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Hopefully some of these dumpster dives produces a tradable asset at the deadline. If the birds could only cash in at the deadline a few times (a trade netting a few top 10 prospects from a team), the future would be much brighter.

  5. jimcarter

    December 29, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Elias is just doing a Duquette with the once promising prospects. The difference is the Texas connection.

    • CalsPals

      December 30, 2019 at 6:43 am

      Everything is bigger in Texas, lol…go O’s…

  6. dlgruber1

    December 29, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    Regarding the comment made that there’s no reason to expect the O’s to win fewer than 72 games next season, uh, yes there is. Villar played all 162 and had a terrific season. Bundy was their second best pitcher. They’re both gone now with no viable replacements in sight. Listen, I’m a lifelong fan but I’m also realistic. I think if they lose fewer than 100 I’ll be very surprised and pleased.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 29, 2019 at 10:34 pm

      Agreed. I would be shocked if we lose less than 100…but who knows?

    • VICTORTEE

      December 30, 2019 at 8:40 am

      I predict 110+ losses. As currently put together the only position players who would have any chance to start on any other team are Mancini, Hays and Santander. And I am including Hays and Santander based on potential, not performance. All the other 6 positions will be occupied by nobodies until Mountcastle is promoted.

      And the pitching staff(especially starters) looks horrendous.

      #1 draft pick, here we come! WOO! HOO!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 30, 2019 at 9:34 am

      I believe the over/under currently sits at 107 and Elias has the over.

  7. CalsPals

    December 30, 2019 at 7:54 am

    O’s mentioned as 4th most improved minor league prospects, finally something positive from MLB network…go O’s…

    • VICTORTEE

      December 30, 2019 at 8:42 am

      I read that is only because Adley is such a stud.

    • CalsPals

      December 30, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Could be, didn’t matter, FINALLY something positive about the O’s in the off season…go O’s…

    • Bancells Moustache

      December 30, 2019 at 11:44 am

      A little irritated by that piece, in that it claims Mike Elias has “turned it around”. Virtually all of the talent on the farm was selected by the much maligned Mr. Duquette. Elias contribution was to have the very first pick of the draft and pick the player everyone on Earth said should be taken first. Hell, you or I could’ve done that.

    • CalsPals

      December 30, 2019 at 3:35 pm

      Agree, still something positive…go O’s…

  8. Tony Paparella

    December 30, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Worth a shot as long as they feel no one is ready yet in the system. I saw the contract posted somewhere and it looks like they have options with this guy if he does not break into the starting lineup. Like someone mentioned a guy like this could breakout all of a sudden, hasn’t really happened yet but it could.Easy to call it dumpster diving too but at least they are doing something.

  9. willmiranda

    December 30, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Can I get a refund on the Marcos Diplan jersey I got for Christmas?

    • Birdman

      December 30, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      No, but you get a store credit for two David Hess jerseys.

    • WorldlyView

      December 30, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      Willy–Suggest you hold on to your Diplan jersey. I predict that after a furious bidding war for his services, he will win 18 games for an AL pennant contender (probably Red Sox or Yanks) and be named an All-Star. Outlook less good for Dan Straily.

      • Rich Dubroff

        December 30, 2019 at 4:59 pm

        Professor Cohen, since you have a Worldly View, you’ll be happy to know that Dan Straily signed to play in South Korea.

        • WorldlyView

          December 30, 2019 at 8:14 pm

          Rich, According to my sources, he signed to play in NORTH Korea.

  10. NormOs

    December 30, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    72 wins? 40 is more reasonable, and that only means 122 losses. When they signed this last guy, Stewart with the ERA of .479 means only that when he pitches,the O’s will have to score a minimum of 6 runs. Good luck with that especially after we move Mancini. The other small thing is, to get to 72 wins requires a bullpen. Does anyone see the O’s having a bullpen? They operated without one last year and won 54 games so where is the improvement to 72? This year, to go along with no bullpen and one starter, the O’s will be luck to win 32 games,much less 72.

    ………..and the REBUILD starts when?

    • WorldlyView

      December 30, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      NormOs, I think you are being too optimistic. In answer to your question, the Rebuild has in fact begun–except it’s moving in the wrong direction.

  11. ClyOs

    December 30, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Good Luck Chris Tillman, just hope the Orioles aren’t an interested team!

    • Raymo

      December 30, 2019 at 9:59 pm

      I feel just the opposite. IfTillman can regain his old form I’d love to have back in our rotation. Go Tilly!

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