Apparently Jeff Baker’s groin strain is going to land him on the disabled list – once again, optimism about injuries for the Cubs proves futile. Baker will soon be placed on the DL, and the Cubs will call up AA infield prospect DJ LeMahieu to take Baker’s place on the roster.

For those of you who don’t follow prospects, LeMahieu is a good one, whom you might remember from such places as that-Spring-Training-walk-off-home-run-he-hit-that-was-pretty-cool-but-it-was-just-Spring-Training. He was the Cubs’ second round pick in 2009 out of LSU, and, until the emergence of Darwin Barney as a legitimate long-term starter, was the Cubs’ future at second base. Not coincidently, he’s been playing a great deal more third base this year.

He’s always hit for average – a minor league career .325 hitter – but little else until this year. His minor league OBP is just .360 and SLG just .408. This year, he’s cranked those numbers up to .386 and .492, respectively. LeMahieu turns 23 in July.

The selection of LeMahieu at this point is surprising (and potentially concerning) for a few reasons: (1) if the Cubs are looking for a versatile bench guy for a couple weeks, they could have selected a veteran minor leaguer like Bobby Scales from AAA Iowa; (2) if the Cubs are looking for a versatile bench prospect who’s likely to remain a versatile bench player in the bigs, they could have selected LeMahieu’s teammate Ryan Flaherty, who’s hitting even better than LeMahieu, is older, and clearly has a future in the bigs; (3) LeMahieu is one of the Cubs’ best positional prospects, but there’s nowhere for him to start on the big club right now.

Number three is the one that really perplexes me. The Cubs are using an option year and starting the arbitration clock on a kid whom they believe has a future – in a year or two – as a starter on the Cubs. And they’re doing that so they can have him on the bench for a couple weeks? Unless there’s a plan in place to get him some starts, then this seems to be a really brain-dead move. And, with apologies to the Cubs, they don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to properly handling and promoting prospects.

  • chris

    I agree this makes now sense….unless there is a trade in the works and they are showing him off?

    • Ace

      I doubt it’s showing DJ off for a trade, because he’s not going to play (and he was raking at AA, so where better to keep showing him off than where he was already raking?). If a trade is in the works – which I doubt right now – it would be someone else being moved out, which would open up a spot for LeMahieu to play regularly. But I don’t see the Cubs going in that direction, if at all, for another month and a half.

  • Cheryl

    If there is a trade in the works, wouldn’t he be combined with someone already on the big league roster? Could Z be involved?

  • Ron

    Does a contender need a third baseman? Could A-RAM be on the move?

  • Hogie

    What?! I sure hope they are in talks to trade Rami soon, or maybe it’s a preview for DJ, get a glimpse at big league pitching, maybe Rami is hurting and DJ gets some starts, maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better about this weird decision.

  • Ian Afterbirth

    I thought as recently as a month ago that there HAD to be a method to the Cubs’ madness, however ill-conceived it may be.
    I have since come to change my mind.
    This is nothing but a stupid idea – no wait – “idea” implies thought.

    There’s no trade, no nothing in the works.
    It was dumb thing to do and that’s why it was done.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      Maybe Hendry is trying desperately to pull off surprising, creative, “I thought he was a fool at the time but now he looks like a genius”, “thinking out of the box”, etc, moves in one last effort to get lucky and retain his job.

  • jim

    When was the last time a cub starter went 7 inngs?

    • wax_eagle

      Demp went 7 on 5/24

  • Roughriider

    When I saw that LeMahieu was being called up my very first though was, why him and not Flaherty ? Although LaMahieu is hitting for a better average, Flaherty is hitting .317 and has twice as many RBIs and 11 Homers. Flaherty has played all over the infield and outfield. Perhaps the fact that LaMahieu hits right handed was the deciding factor. A curious decision.

  • http://BleacherNation Bric

    Hendry loves to play the PR game while only letting out as much as info as is needed to keep us all guessing. Remember last year when he announced a “major decision” which we all thought was a trade? It turned out to be Z going to the bullpen and Castro getting called up. Big decision.

    It’s pretty clear that a perfect storm of bad moves has occurred in the first 45 games. His big free agent signings (Wood and Pena) haven’t exactly lived up to expectations. His big trade is on the DL, and he was obviously banking on this 9 game home stand against three mediocre teams to be better than 3 and 3 with a huge question mark starting today. Lastly, his covetted young pitchers have shown to be what pretty much everyone else thought they were. Why wait til August? I think he’s going Kamakaze on us. And why not? He waited way too long last year and got nothing in return for any of his trades. It’s still May and he’s already got the rally cap on.

  • Ace

    Quade has confirmed that LeMahieu will start only if its in place of a guy who’s not healthy or not performing. So, in other words, he’s not going to start. Call up a 22 year old prospect who’s tearing it up so that he can sit the bench and not play? Only the Cubs…

  • Dave

    See if he can handle third and let the fire sale begin.

  • Curt

    Anyone besides me notice the pattern of confusion no
    One understands the moves they reek of desperation and of hendry trying to save his job, myb he should hve thought about that when gving soriano 8 yrs it Bradley 3 and a truck full of cash come on ricketts u claim to be a cub fan and I think most cub fans want hendry gone and I almost forgot fukudome 4 yrs 48 million fir an avg hitter no power pretty good def player, Jim hendry u have mismanaged the Chicago cubs you are the weakest link goodbye sir

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  • al

    seems like weve got another felix pie…bobby hill…corey patterson in bloom…yadayadayada