March 21: Brault’s deal has been reworked as a minor league contract with a non-roster invite to Spring Training and a July opt-out opportunity, tweets Bastian. The veteran lefty is now dealing with an “injury setback” of some type, per Bastian — hence the restructured deal. He’d earn at a $1.5MM rate in the big leagues and can tack on up to $400K worth of incentives.
March 16, 11:30am: Brault is signing a Major League contract with the Cubs, tweets Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
10:44am: The Cubs are close to a deal with free-agent lefty Steven Brault, tweets Robert Murray of FanSided. The longtime Pirates southpaw became a free agent earlier this offseason when Pittsburgh cut him loose just prior to the non-tender deadline. Brault is represented by Warner Sports Management.
Brault, 30 in April, has tallied 70 1/3 innings for the Pirates since 2020. He was occasionally deployed as an opener in the shortened 2020 season, though he did close out that year by allowing only one earned run over 16 innings across two starts. In March of 2021, Brault suffered a lat strain, pushing his season debut to August 4. In seven starts, he completed five innings only twice, with his velocity down 1.4 miles per hour from the prior year. The lat strain re-occured on September 10, ending his season and six-year career with the Pirates.
Brault’s career high in innings in an MLB season is 113 1/3, back in 2019. In his big league career, he’s generally struggled with walks and hasn’t missed bats. Brault was a two-way player at Regis University, and was drafted by the Orioles in the 11th round in 2013 and traded to the Pirates two years later. The athletic lefty managed to hit .333 in 50 plate appearances back in 2019, and which point the suggestion arose that he could occasionally pitch in in the outfield. If Brault is healthy, there could still be a potential back-end starter in there for the Cubs. They badly need the depth, especially with Adbert Alzolay starting the season on the IL.