Among the players the Chicago Cubs are likely to aggressively shop over the next few days, utility player Blake DeWitt is not first that comes to mind. He’s still young – at just 25, he’s only a couple months older than Darwin Barney – inexpensive, and, frankly, unproductive. As someone who can play a variety of positions, he didn’t figure to be a non-tender candidate at the end of the year. Most have been all but resigned to the belief that he’ll be back next year, in one capacity or another.
But Paul Sullivan recently said that the Cubs “could part with DeWitt if they could get a decent prospect in return.” With the uncertainty at third base going into next season – DeWitt’s natural position – would the Cubs unload DeWitt for a low level prospect?
And, more importantly, with a rash of middle infield injuries lately, could DeWitt actually have some value?
To the first question, with Jeff Baker likely returning next year, Darwin Barney holding down the fort at 2B (for now), and the expected emergence of DJ LeMahieu and Ryan Flaherty in similar roles, perhaps DeWitt is indeed expendable.
To the second question, because the Cubs have started working DeWitt with some regularity in left field, and have relied on him as a pinch hitter, perhaps there is a team out there who would view him not only as a temporary replacement for an injured player this year, but as a valuable utility player down the road.
Still, DeWitt is hitting just .259/.281/.367 this year with the Cubs, number that, sadly, aren’t that far off from his career averages. And it’s not as though he’s shown a particular defensive acumen at any position besides third base, despite the utility label with which he’s increasingly tabbed.
While it might make some sense for the Cubs to field calls on DeWitt – and even perhaps make a few calls, themselves – it’s hard to imagine the return being much to write home about.
Much like when the Cubs acquired DeWitt last year as the centerpiece to the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot trade. Oops.