Cubs Land Stewart, Weathers From Rockies
To the analysis...
Ian Stewart was dreadful last year, absolutely dreadful to the tune of a .465 OPS in 136 PA's that Colvin even managed to beat (.509 in 222 PA's). He did put up a .950 OPS in AAA though and suffered through a wrist injury which may or may not explain the massive drop-off in his numbers. Even when healthy, he managed just a career .782 OPS (96 OPS+ in 1282 PA's) before last season, so he's hardly making anyone hold off to a trip to the concession stand when he reaches the plate.
But obviously the Cubs are counting on a bounce back season and he was quite the prospect back in the day, as high as #4 in all of baseball in 2005. Defensively, he's best at third base, although the Rockies have tried him at 2B, LF and RF. If you buy the defensive numbers, he seems to grade slightly above average at 3b. Hoyer claims he's "gifted" as a third basemen and Jim Tracy compared him to Adrian Beltre in a good way. High praise indeed...
Stewart is arbitration eligible and earned $2.2M last year and hard to imagine it won't stay the same or go down after his poor 2011 season. AZ Phil says he has one option year left, but would need to go through Optional Assignment Waivers (scroll way down for the explanation) to be sent to the minors. Hoyer says he's expected to be the starting third basemen, although you have to believe they'll keep at least Jeff Baker around as a platoon partner just in case.
Casey Weathers was the Rockies #6 prospect in 2008 and 2009 according to Baseball America. A closer-type that can throw in the upper 90's, he had Tommy John surgery that cost him his 2009 season and has pretty much struggled with his control ever since.
"Since (the surgery) he's struggled with his command," Hoyer said. "His velocity is still in the upper 90s. He has a great arm. We hope a change of scenery will help him as well."
According to AZ Phil, he has 2 minor league options left.
Overall, I like the deal, but I've always liked Stewart. Probably because I had him in a fantasy league those 2 awesome months he had his rookie year in 2008 where he had 35 RBI's over a month and a half and an OPS near in the 1.000 range. The negatives are kind of obvious so I will go over them briefly, he's coming off a abysmal season, wasn't all that great to start with, strikes out a ton which will always suppress his batting average and keep his OBP down. As for the positives, he'll be playing his age 27 season next year, about the time you expect a player to have his best seasons, seems to be able to handle himself defensively and he certainly fits the style of offense that Jed-Stein know how to put together. Just like David DeJesus, he averages seeing around 4 pitcher per plate appearance and is certainly not adverse to taking a walk.
As for Weathers, obviously it's all upside with his arm, just a matter of finding out if he can ever get some control back. I'm a bit skeptical considering how far out he is from his surgery.
Colvin for Stewart seemed like a perfectly fair trade to me, Colvin is a year younger and cheaper at the moment, but Stewart isn't really costing the Cubs much in the grand scheme of things, plays a position the Cubs need more of and most importantly, fits the style of offense that Jed-Stein are trying to put together, far more than Colvin. Losing LeMahieu was a bit of a surprise, I probably prefer to give him a shot at 2B or a utility spot over Darwin Barney, but overall I'm not a huge fan of his and never really expected much more than him being a bench player. If you evaluate the trade by terms of ceiling, the Cubs certainly got the better end of the deal and you hope their scouts are seeing something that the numbers aren't bearing out. But it's certainly a risky deal, if Colvin finds his 2010 groove and/or LeMahieu does develop his power, the Cubs could have given up two solid starters while there's the possibility that Stewart and Weathers don't do anything in the majors.
Let's hope Jed-Stein are as smart as advertised.