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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