The Cubs have traded lefty Eric Stout to the Pirates in exchange for cash, per a pair of team announcements. Stout was designated for assignment by Chicago last week. The Pirates have optioned him to Triple-A, and their 40-man roster is now full.
Stout, 29, made his first big league appearance since 2018 last week and wound up working a total of 3 2/3 innings over two games for the Cubs. He surrendered a total of two runs on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts before being jettisoned from the 40-man roster.
Signed to a minor league deal over the winter, Stout has spent the bulk of the season in Triple-A Iowa, where he’s notched a 3.94 ERA with a massive 36.6% strikeout rate but a bloated 16.8% walk rate in 29 2/3 innings. In addition to his 22 walks, Stout also hit a pair of batters and tossed three wild pitches.
During his original call to the big leagues with the 2018 Royals, Stout averaged 91.3 mph on his fastball in a tiny sample of work. That number jumped to 93.1 mph in last week’s big league return, and the improved velocity could help to explain some of the uptick in strikeouts he’s experienced this year. Command was never a huge issue for Stout in the lower levels of the minor leagues, but he’s posted walk rates of 13.2%, 19.6% and 16.8% in his past three Triple-A stints (Reds, Marlins, Cubs). It’s clear that he can miss bats at a high level, and Stout can still be optioned both this year and next, so the Bucs will hope they can help him hone his ability to locate the ball with a change of scenery in Triple-A.