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 Optional Assignment Waivers are revocable (meaning the request can be withdrawn if the player is claimed), and once secured they are good for the entire waiver period.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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  • Agreed. I was not including Fowler or Heyward.

    I'm just not a fan of 2016 Coghlan.....

    Dusty Baylor 6 min 4 sec ago view
  • @Dusty Contreras if it's a Lester or Arrieta start. TLS is good PH too. You also forgot about Heyward, assume Fowler is CF.

    chitownmvp01 7 min 19 sec ago view
  • I expect Soler to get optioned as well when activated and Cahill to replace Grimm. It wouldn't surprise me if Coghlan and/or Soler is included in a trade.

    Maybe Coghlan is up to see if he can get on track before someone acquires him.

    This move could also be to assure that we have as much OF depth as possible to maximize Joe's ability to rest players in September once we've clinched.

    chitownmvp01 9 min 29 sec ago view
  • Maddon basically said as much...Fowler still kind of sore, they're being proactive, etc.

    Tito 11 min 43 sec ago view
  • La Stella at 2B...Baez at 3B, or vice versa. Zobrist in RF, Bryant in LF No one gets bumped.

    Dusty Baylor 20 min ago view
  • If Coghlan is leading off, I assume Fowler is getting the day off. Who is supposed to lead off, then? Someone has to get on base for Bryant and Rizzo. Coghlan's OBP is .346 with the Cubs. Jackson's was .304. LaStella can lead off, but then he has to play second or third, and bump Zobrist or Baez.

    Unless he gets hot, Coghlan will likely change places with Soler soon.

    VirginiaPhil 21 min 35 sec ago view
  • I suspect the Cubs asked Chris Coghlan if he would accept an Optional Assignment to the minors and he refused (Coghlan has one minor league option left), so either you keep LaStella on the 25 and release Coghlan, or option LaStella to AAA for about a month and have both LaStella and Coghlan available in September-October. (As an Article XIX-A player, Coghlan must give his permission before he can be optioned to the minors, while LaStella has not accrued enough MLB Service Time to refuse an optional assignment).

    Arizona Phil 42 min 29 sec ago view
  • Given today's lineup -- maybe they just wanted an extra OF to give Dexter a few days off (i.e. day game after a night game).

    billybucks 44 min 39 sec ago view
  • Tommy LaStella has three minor leaue options left so it's no big deal to send him to Iowa, but as of right now he projects to be at 2+124 MLB Service Time by the end of the of the 2016 MLB regular season, which will place him "on the bubble" as far as being eligible for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" post-2016.

    But if he spends at least twenty days on optional assignment this season (anything less than twenty days and he will accrue a full season of MLB Service Time), he will not have enough MLB Service Time to have a chance to be a "Super Two."

    Arizona Phil 55 min 57 sec ago view
  • this will be his 4th time leading off for the cubs this season...WITH A .500 OB%! HAIL MADDON! THE PLAN (c)2016! HE HAS RISEN! #YOLO #SWAG! KONY 2012!

    crunch 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • I don't hate Coghlan as a PHer but he's leading off today which is as bad as Austin Jackson doing so last year. He doesn't even have the speed.

    johann 1 hour 52 min ago view
  • TLS has options. He will be up again in Sept, and maybe earlier.

    Rob Richardson 2 hours 3 min ago view
  • Very odd -- TLS .308/.419 in July (in 26 AB). Strange move for a team struggling to score runs. Hard to imagine Coghlan doing better than that. Maybe they like Coghlan better as a PH?

    billybucks 2 hours 13 min ago view
  • Sorry to nitpick -- but the first game wasn't a save.

    billybucks 2 hours 28 min ago view
  • Wow La Stella sent to Iowa and Coghlan brought up. I'm not a huge Stella fan but he has been hitting lately and is to me better than Coghlan. Neither are good defensively but I guess Coghlan can play the outfield allowing Bryant to stay at 3rd more where he's better.

    johann 2 hours 29 min ago view
  • Not 2nd to last but Cubs are definitely bottom of the pack in the 2nd half in oWAR and wRC+. #1 in dWAR though which is certainly a good sign for the playoffs.

    johann 2 hours 34 min ago view