Free agent left-hander Eric Stout is drawing interest from all over the baseball world, with Jon Heyman of The New York Post reporting that the southpaw has interest from clubs in Major League Baseball, Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization.
Stout, 31 in March, has very limited major league experience, having appeared in three games for the Royals in 2018 and 20 games in 2022, split between the Cubs and Pirates. His 24 2/3 innings have resulted in an unsightly earned run average of 7.30, though in a very small sample. His minor league work has naturally been stronger, including an ERA of 4.63 in his Triple-A career.
In 2023, Stout began the year on a minor league deal with the Cubs, then was released and signed another with the Mariners. In early July, he had a 4.20 ERA in Triple-A for the year when he was released to pursue an opportunity with the CTBC Brothers of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan. Stout did well with this change of scenery, making 12 starts for the Brothers with an ERA of 3.28. In his 68 2/3 innings, he struck out 27.9% of batters faced while walking just 4.6%.
Based on that strong showing, it seems Stout may have opened other opportunities for himself. Even if he doesn’t get a deal with a major league club, the NPB and KBO are both considered to be a step up from the CPBL. Moving up the ladder in that sense and continuing to have success would increase his chances of getting an MLB deal down the line.