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 Optional Assignment Waivers are revocable (meaning the request can be withdrawn if the player is claimed), and once secured they are good for the entire waiver period.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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  • Very nice. I saw him in Lansing in May. I'm still stunned that he hit a 400-foot foul ball onto Larch Street ... which is going the other way for a right-handed batter. It was perhaps the most amazing swing I've ever seen a minor league player take. I should also mention that it was about 40 degrees out at the time. Not that it's evidence of anything per se, but I feel his plate approach is way more advanced than Soler was at this stage in his development and that the comparisons aren't really fair to Jimenez. 50/50 chance I'll go to Midland tonight for the low-A debut of Oscar de la Cruz.

    John Beasley 1 hour 5 min ago view
  • Eloy Jimenez grand slam tonight. Hoping Soler power returns and gets hot but future looks bright in the outfield regardless.

    Finished the night 4-5, with two doubles - 32(!) on the season - along with the grand slam. Sick

    Eric S 2 hours 26 min ago view
  • Meanwhile, out West:

    SF is 2-11 since the break, lead over LA is down to one game, and they are running out Cain and Peavy this weekend against the Nats. Challenging times by the Bay.

    billybucks 3 hours 13 min ago view
  • Thanks for the updates Phil. Too bad about Frazier.

    Hagsag 7 hours 9 min ago view
  • The Cubs have released RHRP Scott Frazier (2013 7th round dfraft pick - Pepperdine).

    A Cubs pitching coach told me in Spring Training 2014 that he thought Frazier had the best pure stuff in the organization. Absolutely electric fastball & breaking ball combo. Other pitchers would gather behind the screen just to watch him throw "live" BP. That's how amazing he was. 

    Arizona Phil 12 hours 17 min ago view
  • Got a chance to see Diamondbacks RHSP Zack Greinke (15-day DL - strained oblique) throw a rehab start at Sloan Park Friday night. Four of the first seven AZL Cubs hitters singled and the Cubs did score an unearned run in the bottom of the 1st inning, but then Greinke got serious and struck out five in a row.

    ZACK GREINKE: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 4/0 GO/AO, 49 pitches (34 strikes)

    Arizona Phil 12 hours 31 min ago view
  • Have fun - It may be good for Arrieta to be facing a team that doesn't know him as well as the NL teams. A nice shutout would do wonders for his confidence. He is confident in public but baseball is hard and he could use a boost, I'm sure.

    Old and Blue 17 hours 23 min ago view
  • Me too. I'll be at the game tomorrow and would love to see Good Arrieta.

    Brick 17 hours 48 min ago view
  • Last few games have been the April version of the Cubs that disappeared completely the past two months.
    Hope they can sustain it.

    blockhead25 18 hours 14 min ago view
  • Don't sell yourself short, Judge.

    Jackstraw 18 hours 41 min ago view
  • I love this team.

    Looks like Mother Nature is trying to call this fight.

    Rob Richardson 20 hours 10 min ago view
  • Hey! I remember this team!

    billybucks 20 hours 18 min ago view
  • The key for Heyward's offense: get early leads. Heard a stat on Mike & Mike on the way to work that his avg/power much better this year when the Cubs have the lead. And true to form he gets the two run dinger with Cubs winning 3-0 ...

    Eric S 21 hours 44 min ago view
  • I'm sorry - I was probably not looking at the correct line, or spot, or...who knows!

    I could blame it on the weed, but I stopped smoking many years ago.

    Fortunately, I can rely on the rest of you sober and astute folks to bring the correct info forth.

    The E-Man 22 hours 12 min ago view
  • Oh yeah! It just felt like one for some reason.

    Old and Blue 23 hours 18 min ago view
  • Agreed. I was not including Fowler or Heyward.

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

    Dusty Baylor 23 hours 24 min ago view