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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  • James Russell elected free agency.

  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.