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.
deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but whatever...at least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.
Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?
NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.
If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.
The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
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.