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The Chicago Cubs are not-so-secretly on the market for a third baseman, and have been rumored to be interested in, among others, the Colorado Rockies’ Ian Stewart. The now-rumored asking price? Cubs’ utility player Blake DeWitt.

DeWitt, 26, is the same age as Stewart, but is more versatile and better defensively (at least at 3B). Both have three years of arbitration left, but DeWitt is expected to be considerably less expensive over the course of those three years (he’s eligible for arbitration for the first time after a $460k salary last year, where as Stewart is eligible for the second time after making $2.3 million last year). Stewart, however, has a much higher offensive ceiling after putting up huge numbers throughout his minor league career, and better numbers than DeWitt at the big league level.

Given those countervailing qualities, as well as the expendable nature of DeWitt given the presence of DJ LeMahieu and Ryan Flaherty, you can see why the straight-up swap might make some sense for both teams.

The talks, the Denver Post says, however, have cooled, and might or might not pick back up next week.

The holdup, if I had to guess, has less to do with the Cubs being unwilling to part with DeWitt for Stewart than it does with the Cubs wanting to see what else they might be able to pull off at third base. In other words, if the Cubs feel like they still have a chance to pull off a trade for San Diego’s Chase Headley, a superior all-around player, they’ll want to hold the Rockies off.

The problem? The Cubs aren’t the only team interested in Stewart. Such is the delicate balance of the Winter for MLB teams – moves are not made in a vaccuum, and sometimes you have to pull the trigger on the “best you can do at the time” rather than risk ending up empty handed.┬áThat said, I strongly suspect the Cubs would make a best-and-final offer on someone like Headley before dealing for Stewart.

If the Cubs do make a move for Stewart, and assuming he’s handed the third base job, it will be hard to be particularly excited about that move, in isolation. The upside is nice, but the Cubs will quickly be running out of spots to add a significant bat.

I will say this: viewed in isolation (meaning Headley doesn’t exist, and the move doesn’t impact any other future moves), would I trade DeWitt for Stewart straight up if I were the Cubs? Oh heavens yes.

  • BetterNews

    Its now being reported the Rockies are interested In Colvin and not Dewitt. I would make that trade also.

    • Eric

      Actually it’s being reported they want Colvin OR a pitching prospect + Dewitt.

      • BetterNews

        I think I would still make that trade, provide, as I said earlier, Stewart passes a medical examination for the wrist injury.

  • njriv

    Even though Headley might be better than Stewart, Acquiring Stewart seems like will be lighter on the Cubs wallet.

    • Lou Cub

      Screw the Cubs wallet!!! They want to win they’ll spend wisely not like the Hendry Cubs, ther eisn’t that much of a finacncial difference between Stewart and Headly what 2.4 million?? To us it’s a lot not to the Cubs and if you get a better player it’s worth it

      • Eric

        I think “wallet” in terms with Headley would be it would “cost” more in prospects. If you really want to build for the future and build up the Cubs assets (good quality prospects and team controlled guys on the right side of 30 *garza, castro and the like). You want to buy low on a guy like Stewart, and if he can really put things together you’ve just got yourself a quality 3B for literally no cost.

  • Lou Cub

    Maybe i’m nuts, I think we’d regret sending Colvin to Colorado….Best solution is a Garza deal with Texas and we get Mike Olt in the deal to play 3rd plus Sheppers and Ogando….

    • Eric

      You’d regret sending Colvin, someone who is most likely never gonna be anything special. Yet you wouldn’t regret sending Garza? Garza is the type of guy I want to build around. Extend Garza now to a team friendly 5-6 year extension. He’s a true Ace, something the Cubs need to hold onto.

  • Louis

    I’m with Lou on this one 100%!!!!

  • Lou Cub

    Thanks Louis!!! It’s really a no brainer, as much as I like Garza he needs to be moved to expedite our rebuilding.

  • Louis

    Gotta work with what you have. That’s for sure. If we do trade him then we have to get a ML ready 3B and at least one ML ready pitching prospect or if we plan on signing a 3B then we need mass pitching prospects with at least two of them ML ready.

  • Lou Cub

    I’d think between Garza, Marmol and Soto we could at least get 3-4 arms for the rotation plus other pieces at the very least..2 plus others for Garza, 1 plus others for Marmol and same for Soto…No doubt…

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  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    What you guys are missing there isn’t much on the market for a closer, unless you sign Francisco Rodriguez which is another Boras client.. So I think trading Marmol isn’t the answer! Plus we’ve got him at a cheap price… Did you see what Heath Bell signed for?? 3/27 mill! Anouther option would be Andrew Bailey?? So I think we should keep our closer maybe until the July trade line

  • ferrets_bueller

    LOL, cleverly disguised spam.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Losers.

      • ferrets_bueller

        at least it wasn’t in Russian! lmao.

      • Cubbie Blues

        I guess this means he won’t be getting the job?

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