The Cubs are designating right-hander Robert Stock for assignment, per Jordan Bastian of MLB.com (Twitter link). The move clears 40-man roster space for left-hander Kyle Ryan, who was activated from the COVID-19 list, per Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago claimed Stock off waivers from the Red Sox last December.
A former Cardinals’ second-round pick as a catching prospect, Stock washed out as a position player but clicked after a conversion to the mound. The hard-throwing reliever earned a big league job with the 2018 Padres and showed some promise, pitching to a 2.50 ERA/3.61 SIERA over 39.2 innings.
Stock wasn’t able to carry that success over in the following seasons, though, thanks largely to difficulty throwing strikes. He has a 7.13 ERA across 24 innings over the past two seasons with San Diego and Boston. Stock’s 24.6% strikeout rate in that time is adequate, but he’s issued walks at an untenable 15.3% clip.
Despite his control issues, it’s easy to see why Stock has continued to attract interest from teams with space available at the back of the 40-man roster. Stock’s four-seam fastball sits in the mid-high 90’s. He has gotten swings and misses at a near league-average rate and has induced ground balls on a strong 50.8% of balls in play over his big league career. Perhaps there’s still some hope the late-blooming Stock could develop adequate control and stick in a team’s middle relief mix.
The Cubs have a week to trade Stock or place him on waivers. He hasn’t yet reached arbitration and still has a minor-league option year remaining, so he’d represent a rather flexible depth piece for potential acquiring clubs.