Winter Meetings 2011 Day 3

The same deal as yesterday, keep the rumors flowing and check the twitter box on the right.

The news from the Cubs is that Carlos Pena has declined arbitration, although Levine indicates he may return on a free agent deal. If he signs elsewhere, the Cubs will get a compensation pick between the first and second rounds of the draft. Aramis hasn't formally declined, but obviously very unlikely he would accept since he declined the Cubs $16M option already, unless he misread the market and a multi-year deal isn't really out there, but that seems unlikely. My guess is he goes to the Brewers.

- Talks continue on Ian Stewart with names like Blake DeWitt, Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu being mentioned.

- Albert Pujols had 10-year offers from the Marlins and Cardinals and it appears he's headed back to the Cardinals. The Cubs were in the mix somehow, but don't appear to be a real threat to land him. Marlins may move on to Fielder or focus their dollars on pitching.


Maybe he is over 28? Oh, and, then you would only be paying for past performance I guess - instead of future imminent failure.

Fuck that trade.

Ditto, Rush.

CHIPs signed James Loney to an impressive DUI. Sideswiped a Mini, Prius, and a Benz before/after/while passed out in the fast lane of a freeway. Then he tried to leave.

and he spit on an arresting officer (allegedly)...

if milton bradley keeps it up the LA penal system softball league is gonna get really awesome.

also, alcohol/drugs not least ones they test for (ha)

Before he blew out his elbow in the AFL post-2008 (and I think I might have been at that game), Casey Weathers was one of the Rockies Top 5 prospects, and one of the top closer prospects in baseball. He was the closer for Team USA in the 2008 Olympics, and was a college teammate of ex-Cub Ryan Flaherty at Vanderbilt.

Unfortunately, he has taken longer than normal to come back from the TJS (he missed all of the 2009 season and most of the 2010 season, and could not throw strikes this past season at AA or in the AFL post-2011), so he is a big question mark at this point.

I like this move a lot more than the Dejesus signing. That being said, Fielder, Darvish or Cespedes are hopefully part of this plan.

I thought I read the Cubs were supposedly higher on Soler than Cespedes? But I agree, Darvish please.

[EDIT] Ne'ermind, just having page update probs.

No you're not. Our big move at the Winter Meetings was to trade for someone who got out-hit by Tyler Colvin last year.

The funny thing is if both Fielder and Pujols end up out of the NL Central, those would be the 2 biggest deals the Cubs didn't make this winter to improve their chances. And you guys thought HoyStein don't have mind control powers.

Agreed. That would vastly improve the chances of earning the right to be swept out of the first round of the playoffs. Fingers crossed!! Though, I'm still hoping for Fielder.

Cubs are pretty damn good at earning the right to be swept out of the first round.'s article on the colvin-stewart trade plus an embedded mlb network interview with Hoyer

Bruce Miles tweet...

GM Hoyer calls Stewart a "gifted third baseman" and hopes change of scenery will help offense.

--will Stewart's defense at 3B be an upgrade from ARam?
--will Stewart be able to draw more walks than Colvin?
--will Stewart's improvement be Pena-like, meaning it's a good season if he hits .225?

are the Cubs the tallest midget in the NL Central?

yes x 3, no on the last one...Brewers will still be good and Cards get Wainwright back. Reds are poised for a comeback season if they can deal for a starter or two.

Here is a 5/9/11 fangraphs article on Stewart during his early 2011 season struggles. Some interesting discussion regarding who would be a trade partner for Stewart at that point considering his struggles.
Stewart’s pre-season 2011 ZiPS projection (.248/.332/.462, .341 wOBA, 10.1% walk rate, 30.1% strikeout rate)

Stewart’s plate discipline hasn’t completely broken down. His walk rate is about the same as his career rate, he’s swinging less than usual (and only slightly more at pitches outside the zone, according to BIS), and he’s making the same amount of contact. If professional scouts see something in his approach that means he isn’t the same, approximately league-average hitter he’s been in the recent past, I will cede to them. Statistically, this looks like the same guy: a 26-year old hitter with some contact issues, but a good walk rate, and above-average power. Stewart’s window for stardom is just about shut, but given his ZiPS RoS projection and the fact that he plays at least an average third base, he’s still good enough to be at least an average player in terms of his true talent.

I like the gamble. We get a league average 26 year old 3rd baseman and a live arm. In exchange for 2 guys who are Utility spare parts.

league average?

which, mexico?

and the Aaron Gleeman linked article calling for the Rocks to trade Stewart.

do any ian stewart fans have anything to say about the guy that doesn't involve a number? ...especially since the AAA ones seem to be the only useful ones unless you want to project power and ignore what showed up last year.

what is so nice about his plate approach? the only good thing about this deal is it costs next to nothing both in what was given up and what's being also leaves dewitt/baker as the main 3rd base backup. well, it's good he can actually field 3rd...that's a good start over a guy like c.mcgehehehehe at least.

i know the guy's minor league numbers looks like a bunch of shiny dimes or some crap, but what about that guy swinging a bat looks like upside to anyone?

"do any ian stewart fans have anything to say about the guy that doesn't involve a number?"

Does anyone have any non-Facts to argue with my biased TV viewing?

not just me.

ian stewart isn't some 19 year old dominican kid.

Are there any Ian Stewart fans?

I saw so few games last year even of the Cubs. Real busy with work, but mostly because I was just so disgusted with the direction of the team, and saw nothing to look forward to even in the future.

So, even tho Stewart had an okay rookie year, I really can't remember even seeing him bat. Ever. I can't imagine he has a lot of fans in Chicago. "HEY! LOOKEE!!! WE GOT IAN STEWART! WOO HOO!!"

Most of us casual fans, and that's what I was last year, don't even know who the guy is.

Brief thumbnail on Ian Stewart & Casey Weathers roster status info:

STEWART: 3+050 MLB Service Time... under club control through 2014 season... eligible for salary arbitration... was also eligible for arbitration post-2010 as a "Super Two" & ended up with a $2.2M+ salary in 2011... has one minor league option left, but he would need to clear Optional Assignment Waivers before he can be sent to minors...

WEATHERS: No MLB Service Time... has two minor league options left...

Underwhelming off season thus far.

Just wait until we bring in James Loney or Kotchman for the other corner. Things will look a lot rosier then.

I'm thinking Daric Barton after he's non-tendered on Monday. Then everything will be coming up roses.

Why wait for the non-tender. Why not trade potential useful parts for him now?

How about just going International? Sign Cespedes, Darvish, Soler, and Concepcion and be happy.

Phil Rogers gives Jaramillo too much credit as a Mr.Fixit, since Bagwell, Biggio and Castro never stumbled in their early careers, while Gonzalez, Rodriguez and Palmeiro were hitting stars well before they met RJ. Tyler Colvin, meanwhile, who had his ticket out of town punched by Rudy, is not mentioned in the article.

But Rogers does make a good point when he says that Stewart may be just a one-year placeholder for Vitters or Lake. The Cubs didn't necessarily want to invest a lot in a 3B this year.

Jaramillo historically has done great work with young hitters, and Starlin Castro’s .304 average in his first two seasons suggests he could be on his way to joining the group of great hitters who cut their teeth working with Jaramillo (most notably Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez).

5 guys suspected of taking 'roids...

Oh Wrongway, never change...


Recent comments

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  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.

  • I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.

  • One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players. 

  • CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis  at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely. 

  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception? Also, looking at the graphs, Lackey was not throwing as many pitches below the K-zone (certainly more above) while Lester was clearly getting his pitches down and not many above.