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.