Cubs Option Ian Stewart to AAA

The Cubs have reinstated 3B Ian Stewart from the 15-day DL and have optioned him to AAA Iowa. (Stewart came into the 2013 season with one minor league option year left).

Stewart suffered a strained quad in an intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park in February, and missed the entire 2013 MLB Cactus League Spring Training schedule. He was placed on the Cubs MLB 15-day Disabled List on March 31st (retro to 3/22), and was left behind at Extended Spring Training when the Cubs left Arizona at the end of March.

Stewart hit 200/250/267 in 16 PA at Extended Spring Training, and then was moved up to AAA Iowa on a minor league "rehab" assignment on April 14th, where he has hit an ice-cold 091/255/114 in 58 PA. 

Since the maximum number of days a position player can spend on a minor league rehab assignment is 20 (it's a maximum of 30 days for pitchers), May 3rd is the end of the assignment (time that was spent at Extended Spring Training prior to going to Iowa is not considered part of the minor league rehab assignment). However, a club does not have to reinstate a player to an active roster after the conclusion of a minor league rehab assignment if the player is not healthy enough to play (like if the original injury or illness reappears and/or was aggravated or if a different injury occurred during the course of the rehab assignment).   

Because Stewart made his debut on an MLB 25-man roster more than three years ago, Optional Assignment Waivers had to be secured before he could be optioned to the minors. Optional Assignment Waivers are revocable (meaning the request can be withdrawn if the player is claimed), and once secured they are good for the entire waiver period. So Stewart can be sent back & forth to the minors without any restrictions (that is, he can be recalled and then be optioned to the minors again anytime during the current waiver period without Optional Assignment Waivers needing to be requested & secured each time). The current waiver period just started this past Tuesday, and it doesn't end until 4 PM (EDT) on July 31st.

BTW, although Optional Assignment Waivers had to be secured before Stewart could be optioned to the minors, Stewart did NOT have to give his consent to the assignment. Only players who have accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time must give their consent before they can be optioned to the minors, and Stewart (if he had remained on the 15-day DL or if he had been reinstated to the 25-man roster instead of being optioned) would not have reached five years of MLB Service Time until July 31st. (And now that he's been optioned to the minors, Stewart reaching five years of MLB Service Time will be even further delayed).

The Cubs could have opted to outright Stewart to the minors instead of optioning him, and if Outright Assignment Waivers had been secured and the Cubs had outrighted him to the minors, Stewart would have had the right to elect free-agency immediately or accept the Outright Assignment and defer free-agency until the conclusion of the MLB regular season. That's because while Stewart has not accrued enough MLB Service Time to refuse an Optional Assignment, he has accrued enough MLB Service Time to refuse an Outright Assignment. But if he had been outrighted and elected free-agency immediately, he would forfeit what is left of his 2013 salary (about $1.7M). Which is why it is puzzling that the Cubs didn't force Stewart to make that choice, since there is the possibility that he might have declined an Outright Assignment and saved the Cubs nearly $2M in 2013 payroll. (If he accepts an Outright Assignment and defers free-agency until the end of the MLB regular season, he would continue to receive his 2013 salary, but he also would not be eligible to elect free-agency if he is added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season)  

It's still possible that the Cubs will try and outright Stewart to the minors next time a slot on the 40-man roster is needed (like perhaps when Steve Clevenger or Scott Baker are ready to be reactivated from the 60-day DL, or if the Cubs are awarded a waiver claim as was the case with Julio Borbon a few days ago). What would happen then is that Stewart would be "Recalled - Not to Report" from his Optional Assignment and be Designated for Assignment, pending the completion of the 47-hour Waiver Claiming Period (required before waivers can be secured). 

 

Comments

Sveum on third base: ""There's nothing you need to change there.''

Valbuena and Ransom have been surprisingly productive so far, but if Stewart were doing anything on his rehab stint, he'd still be pressuring them. You don't ignore the entire past of those two guys just because they've hit some homeruns early in the season.

Sigh. Just imagining what's going to happen when 3B and SP come back to earth.

Well Castro and Rizzo were struggling and are hitting now and that will help plus I seriously doubt this team will hit in the low .100s with RISP all year.

treading water...

some will go up, some will go down, same for the pitching...result: bad team.

I think it's a better team then they've been playing but sure it's not a good team and Theo has never pretended otherwise. For me I went into this season mostly interested in how the players likely to be part of the future team do and that is far more rewarding then getting angry over players with no future on this team.

It was fun today seeing Shark adjusting to the aggressiveness of the Reds by going to more off-speed and doing a good job. Sign of an ace. I completely disagree with E-Man and think that Castro has improved his defense quite a bit, and I enjoy seeing it. It was encouraging to hear today that Sveum is going to work with Castro on some unnecessary leg kick which should help him have more time on his swing. And despite a brief slow start where people were freaking out, Rizzo has gotten super hot.

It's obvious players like Marmol have no long term place on this team, so who cares how they do.

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 2 hours 3 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 2 hours 4 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 11 hours 45 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 14 hours 43 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 14 hours 55 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 15 hours 4 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 15 hours 9 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 15 hours 27 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 16 hours 4 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 16 hours 21 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 16 hours 23 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 16 hours 41 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 16 hours 48 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 17 hours 44 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 18 hours 2 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 18 hours 6 min ago view