Cubs activate Ian Stewart from 60 Day DL; Also activate Garza, Vizcaino

Cubs activate Ian Stewart from 60 Day DL; Also activate Garza, Vizcaino

UPDATE: According to Carrie Muskat, Arodys Vizcaino and Matt Garza were also activated.  That puts the roster at 36.

The Cubs have activated 3B Ian Stewart from the 60 day DL, which brings their roster to 34 for now.  The move doesn't necessarily mean the Cubs plan to keep Stewart.  They can still non-tender him and either let him go or try to re-sign him on a more team friendly, incentive laden deal.

Third base remains one of the bigger question marks this offseason.  The Cubs traded for Stewart with the hopes that he would rebound from a disastrous year.  Unfortunately, his wrist did not heal as they expected and he struggled all season.

In a chat earlier this year, Bruce Levine raised questions about Stewart's work ethic and that perhaps the Cubs were disappointed in those efforts.  If that is the case, then it's hard to imagine the Cubs wanting him back.

On the other hand, if those reports were false or exaggerated then, in theory, Stewart fits the profile of what the Cubs are looking for.  He grinds out ABs, he's a solid athlete who plays good defense, and he can hit with some power.  Another factor that favors Stewart is an extraordinarily weak 3B market this season.

The in-house options aren't much better.  Luis Valbuena plays good defense and grinds out ABs but didn't provide the kind of offense the Cubs want on a day to day basis.  Part of the reason may have been a very low .260 BABIP but even considering that, he may ultimately be best suited to be a utility player.

The Cubs seem to like prospects Josh Vitters and Junior Lake but both are earmarked for the minors this year to get more seasoning.


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  • This guy did not show the Cubs he is a" team" player. Don't know the whole story, but if I was paying a guy who is on the DL, he better go by the team rules of rehabbing , not his own.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    That was a little disappointing, especially when you compare him to Garza, who accompanied the team and was active in doing what he could off the field.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Big difference - Garza's injury was thought to be short term and Stewart was shut down for the year. Maybe his doctor suggested he shut down to avoid and possibility of re-injury.

    Just sayin'..

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Garza stayed with the team even after he was put on the 60 day DL. As for Stewart, he was still rehabbing, he just went home to do it. The Cubs reported unhappiness implies that Stewart had a choice.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Garza went on the 60 day with 8 games remaining. Stewart had his operation mid July.

    I just saw that purported unhappiness in a reporter's story, which after last night has diminished significance to me.

    I think Stewart should be given a shot, hopefully with that new contract.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    But they decided to shut him down far before that (They announced it August 21st). Actually placing him on the 60 day DL was just a formality. Garza spent 6 weeks with the team knowing he wasn't going to play. Stewart didn't spend a day with the team after he was shut down.

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    If the Cubs like Vitters why did the pretty much refuse to play him. He has shown in the minors that it takes some time for him to adjust to the level he's at, then he takes hits petty good. They didn't really give him a chance to do that after he was brought up.

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    The plan was to call him up even though they felt he wasn't ready. The idea was to give him a taste of the big leagues and work with him on the side, mostly on his defense and somewhat on his plate discipline. I don't think in Vitters case it was due to a slow start. To me he looked clearly overmatched.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    BJAX was COMPLETELY overmatched, but he continued to play. Granted he wasn't a liabilty defensively, but Sappelt deserved more playing time. At 3rd we knew what we had with Valbuena (Utility Infielder) I wanted to see if Vitters had the potential to figure things out with playing-time or if he is one of those 4A players. I hope he had a "Rizzo Awakening" and sees what he needs to work on, does it and comes back ready.

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    In reply to Nick Johnson:

    BJax wasn't nearly as overmatched as Vitters. Strikeouts aside Jackson did most of the things you expect him to in his short time here.
    Play good defense
    Hit for power
    Worked counts and took walks
    Steal Bases.

    He just needs to work on his hands and keeping his head down on the ball consistently. His problem we're more with his mechanics than being ready for ML pitching(which I think mentally he was)

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    It's not just defense. Jackson hit with much more power, got on base far more frequently, and then was an asset once he was on the bases.

    Vitters has one tool, his bat, and without it, he just doesn't help you much. To me there's no question why Jackson played and Vitters didn't.

  • I think Ian Steward had a case of the tradesies... he was unhappy about being traded... it probably would have helped if he wrist had healed, but it's got to be depressing to the Nth degree when your team is losing and you're hurt and can't play watching guys who have a fraction of your ability get your plays. I don't blame the guy, but I hope he can get over it and become that 3B that we need.

  • In reply to Cueil:

    He may end up being the best option out there given his sklll set. I think maybe non-tendering and working out a more incentive laden, make good deal, is more appropriate -- if they can get him to agree beforehand.

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    Seeing the list of 3b available I would honestly rather have Vitters or Lake than any of the available options but for the benefit of their future they need just a bit more seasoning. Especially Vitters, who I believe can improve substantially this year. That brings me to Valbuena vs. Stewart. In that case I take Stewart 10 times out of 10. I think the reports on him, though true, were a bit overblown.

    I say go with Stewart to see if he can build some trade value(if he has a good first half he could bring you a nice package) and let Vitters earn the job midseason and ride him for the next year or two until Baez is ready.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I agree, let Vitters play and if he has success, then you have a tradable asset when Baez is ready. I do think they should keep Stewart for at least the first half of the season, if he does well then it's another asset.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I wonder too, if the Cubs think he's healthy and ready to come back, that he could even provide some trade value. He's a 28 year old who hits for power and plays good defense -- and it's such a thin market for 3Bs. Then if Vitters improves and is ready to take over, you may have yourself another asset in Stewart that you can trade for long term pieces.

  • Vitters had an OPS of 395. Jackson had an OPS of 644. If you feel Jackson was overmatched, and I do, you need to invent an entirely new word to describe Vitters.

  • Considering how thin the available pitching will be this off season, having available options at third base will be a big plus to free up assets for pitching deals or possible trades.

    If Bruce levine reported this about Stewart I would ignore it. Levine also reported Haren was a cub yesterday, his "sources" confirmed it and it was up on the espn web site. He didn't say maybe either.

    Cubs should go with Stewart unless something better falls into their lap. Even if he isn't the ideal solution no need to let other teams in on it, cubs still need outfield and bullpen help besides sp, taking third off the list helps fill those positions from a stronger position. Can't let Levine and some unattributed media reports turn your offseason into another Hendry desperation row.

  • John
    Do you think the Cubs might go after Youkilis to play 3B and give Rizzo a break against tought lefthanders?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I think they have to at least inquire and gauge his interest. If he seems interested, why not?

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    Why do you say the Cubs like Junior Lake? Not saying you're wrong, just wondering what you've seen or heard.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    They've said it on numerous occasions, from around the time they were hired to most recently on the season ticket conference call.

    Sveum has also said it and I think if it were up to him, they would have called him up last September.

    Also talked to a high ranking scout who told me he'd take Lake over Vitters becaue even if Lake doesn't make it as a starter, he can at least provide value in other ways off the bench.

  • Since Arodys Vizcaino and Matt Garza were activated, does that mean that they are ready to start throwing now or were they taken off the 60 day DL because it is the start of a new year and all lists are cleared?

  • In reply to John57:

    I think it's the latter.

  • I think Stewart has value and should be given a contract that
    he has to earn. At 28 he has many years left and could still
    produce if he is healthy. Have until the 17th to make up our
    mind if we want him on the 40-man roster. It would be worth
    it have a one-on-one talk.

  • Been off the board for a while... I think Stewart is worth another flyer at the minimum rate. He will never hit for average, but if his wrist really was a major factor in his hitting woes, then maybe he can hit .250 or so, knock out 20-25 HRs, grind out ABs and provide very good D at 3B. As a corollary move, the Cubs should also resign Valbuena as the utility man off the bench to again carry 3B is Stewart fails. Plan C would be Vitters getting another shot midseason.

    Also, as for Stewart not being with the club... who knows what was going on? If the Cubs did indeed give him a choice, then they aren't very justified in being upset if he made a choice they didn't like. You can't tell someone "Well, you can choose A or B" hope they choose A and get mad if they choose B. To me, it's the opposite of the Dempster trade fiasco. Personally, I think it's a little weak he never came by the clubhouse, but at the same time, I could see that he may be able to make rehab his full-time job away from the club and not have any distractions... Also, some people are more introverted or reclusive. Doesn't mean they don't support others or aren't good people. I'm just rambling now, but the point is, until we know for sure what was up, I'm reserving final judgment on Stewart's disappearing act.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Good to hear from you again!

    I can subscribe to this 3B plan and I see your point on Stewart -- I'm willing to cut him slack.

  • The 60 day DL disappears 5 days after the World Series ends. Everyone on it now counts against the 40 man roster.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Thanks Dave.

  • I agree with you. Don't know what he said, if he did, after the injury
    to management or what mindset he was in. Since we like signing
    projects, he should be one of the first on our list.

  • The problem with Stewart is that he is eligible for arbitration, which means that the Cubs have to offer him at least 80% of his current salary, or release him and try to sign him as a free agent. His current salary is quite high, which means that the Cubs might not think it is worth it even if they win the arbitration.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I didn't know that. I would release him and try to sign him as a free agent. If someone wants to overpay him, great for them. It would be important, however, to communicate to Stewart what their plans are (i.e.--intention to sign him as a free agent). If he's a reasonable person, he understands he has to take a cut rate to come back...

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Stewart's 2012 salary was 2.24 million. The Cubs could offer to cut that to 1.792 million in arbitration.

  • Unless we really need his spot on the 40-man roster
    (i.e., for a Rule V pick) I think this salary is ok.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I agree. I have a feeling this is going to be a very eventful off-season for the Cubs.

  • I agree, with (1) winter meetings (2) rule V draft (3)
    claiming players and (4) June draft. I trust Theo and Co.
    to select the right players for our team.

  • I think Stewart is our best option. I hate to say it and I hope I'm wrong, but I really don't think Vitters is going to be an All-Start starting 3B and don't see him being better than a utility player at best.

  • I just read that ex-Cub Brant Brown is now the Mariners minor league outfield coordinator coach.

    Ron Santo just rolled over in his grave.

  • great line about Ron Santo!

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    I think I'd forgotten that Stewart was even in the organisation.

  • Jackson and Vitters were night and day. Brett still has a long way to go and has to adjust his swing to make contact. Vitters is not even close to major league ready, and I highly question whether he ever will be.
    I could live with giving Stewart another shot, but no way is he a 3 or 4 million a year player. Youklis would be great, but would you sign with the Cubs if you were him? He will have lots of options, and want to be on a contender.
    Still think Polanco could be a good one year option if healthy. Good influence around younger players, and would be willing to split time with Valbuena or whoever.

  • An inrtiguing 3B name has been dropped by MLB Trade Rumors a few days ago. Moustakas from KC Royals. If Garza healthy enough, do we entertain a multi player deal with KC?

  • In reply to cubs25:

    I don't know if getting a young 3B is worth using up your biggest trade asset considering it is one of the deeper positions in the organization, but I have to say that is intriguing. Moustakas is a pretty good player right now and obviously presents less of a risk than waiting on prospects.

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