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Maybe it is but a coincidence, but, commensurate with the news that the San Diego Padres had acquired Colorado Rockies’ closer Houston Street for some cash and a PTBNL today*, there are reports that the Cubs have renewed their interest in third baseman Ian Stewart. At last check, talks between the Cubs and Rockies had all but died for the time being.

If the timing isn’t a coincidence – and isn’t about the Rockies looking to clear additional salary after taking a first step in dumping Street – then you can bet it’s about Padres’ third baseman Chase Headley, who has been rumored the Cubs’ top third base target this offseason. Headley, 27, is an excellent defender who offers a great deal of offensive upside outside of PetCo Park. He remains under contract for three years.

The Padres, as reported earlier, were hoping to pick up bullpen help from the Cubs in exchange for Headley – James Russell was specifically named. Is it possible that “bullpen help” actually meant “a closer?” Isn’t it possible that the Padres were hoping to pick up, in addition to Russell (a cheap, young, lefty), a theoretically-available closer in Carlos Marmol?

With Street in the fold, the Padres don’t need Marmol. Maybe they never wanted him. But, if they did, the Cubs are now down a big trade chip if they were hoping to pick up Headley.

Russell and a prospect or two (the right ones) could probably still get a deal done, but the timing of the talks about Stewart certainly suggests the Cubs are lining up their options in response to the Street deal. If the Padres no longer want a closer, and won’t take the other players the Cubs are offering, they can move on to Stewart.

Or, at least that’s what they want the Padres to know.

Stewart, 26, is an average defender at third, and offers offensive potential (for the most part, not realized yet), but few believe he’s the Cubs’ preferred option at third base. He’s under control for three more years, but will make as much as $2.5 million in arbitration next year (going up from there). Some believe there’s a chance the Rockies will not tender Stewart a contract next week, making him a free agent. That is all to say: if the Cubs do acquire Stewart, it won’t be (and shouldn’t be) for much.

*UPDATE: Despite multiple reports that the deal was done, Jayson Stark says the Rockies are still talking to at least one other team about Street. Presumably, they’re trying to squeeze a little extra cash out of the Padres.

**UPDATE Redux: Yeah, it’s a done deal.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    I hope they don’t trade for stewart.

    What would it take to get Headley now that they won’t want Marmol?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Russell, Vitters, and low minors arm such as Liria?

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Not familiar with Liria at all and, I’d like to see the Cubs keep Russel but I think it’s fair enough.

  • JB88

    The last sentence of the article is the most important to me. Frankly, given what I’ve read about Stewart, he isn’t worth ML-level talent. Not DeWitt and not Colvin.

    • CubFan Paul

      exactly ..for many reasons Stewart has soured on Rox management, the fans & the media. there’s no reason to offer/pay a lot for him. that being said, he’s a 20HR/yr guy so I hope we get him because we need Power, more Power..

      • hardtop

        saul ;),

        just becasue you hit 20 hr’s once in your life does not mean  you’re a 20HR/yr guy.  i believe its more likely that likley colvin gets his stroke back than stewart hits 20 again… thats if stewart can stay out of the minors.  09 was a fluke, i doubt stewart would even deny it.  2010 was maybe the best you could expect from him, it wasnt bad, but not the answer to any question really.

        no one can say these things for certain, but im confident we’d get more production from dewitt than stewart, we dont need to give anything up for blake, and we already have dewitt jerseys printed ;)

      • Adam H

        Power IS NOT the answer for the Cubs. That’s why they haven’t done anything for so long. The wind blows IN at Wrigley more than out. They need players exactly like campana. Fast as hell, contact hitters. They need people that can steal 20-30 bases, put pressure on a defense with a bunt, and make pitchers think. Enough with the power already. Athletic 5-tool players are the answer to winning in Chicago. Along with pitching. Go give C.J. Wilson some money, trade garza to the royals for wil Myers and Aaron crowe + a couple more top prospects.

        • TWC

          “They need players exactly like campana.”

          Campana slash line: .259/.303/.301.  No thanks.  Oh, wait, he just needs to be given a chance.  </Colvin>

        • JulioZuleta

          Tony Campana does not belong in the major leagues. He’s one of those guys that gets a September callup, steals a few bases late in games, and three years later, you hope your team has guys that make you completely forget about him. You said “they need guys just like Campana” and “Athletic 5 tool players…”, Tony Campana is the classic 1 tool player.

          • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

            If Campana could learn to be a really, really good bunter I think he’d have a nice career… until his speed disappeared.

            And by nice career, I mean a fifth outfielder / pinch runner who starts maybe 20 games a season and makes his living as the go-to bunter and pinch runner who drives infielders to distraction in the late innings. I’ll take a guy like that on my roster… until his speed gives out.

        • hogie

          Yeah, let’s get Juan Piere back too! That would be the sweetest outfield ever!

        • nonesuch

          If you mean power alone is not the answer (standing around for 3 run homer), then I’m with you. They need a better balance for sure. When the wind is blowing in being able to manufacture a run or two is important. (I’ve seen a Trib study that noted the wind blows in about the same amount as out)

        • Kyle

          I think what he meant are players who are kind of like Campana except different because they are actually good at baseball, which he isn’t.

          • TWC

            It was the “exactly like Campana” and the suggestion that Campana was an “[a]thletic 5-tool player” that threw me.  Go figure.

        • Dumpman

          Power is essential. Power doesn’t just mean HRs, it also means 3B and 2B’s.

          • Paul

            it also means 1st base, or at least out of the infield

  • Deer

    Stewart’s bum wrist scares me more than his crap 2011 season. If the wrist limits his power, what use is he? Is Hendry in Theo’s ear?

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    It’d be nice if the Cubs could get a deal done that sends Flaherty, before they lose him in the Rule 5 draft for essentially nothing. The Rockies have been linked to at least two Cub infielders so far (DeWitt and LeMahieu), so I doubt Flaherty would be out of the question.

    Flaherty and a relief pitcher might be enough to get the deal done.

    • CubFan Paul

      do you know of any 2B rule 5 candidates the Cubs might be interested in?

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        I’m starting to dig into that this afternoon.

        I know the Cubs will be interested in general, and given their roster situation I expect they take at least one or two guys, probably including one possible starting pitcher. I have a few names in mind, but nothing definite yet.

        To be honest, I had been assuming that LeMahieu was the leading candidate at second until the Cubs mentioned yesterday that they don’t think he is a second baseman. I need to comb back through the Rule 5 infield options and see what’s there.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Keep in mind, the LeMahieu-no-second-base thing was just Levine’s take. It could be a solitary Cubs scout offered Levine his opinion, and Levine went with it. He isn’t always the most careful when writing about prospects.

          • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

            True. I’m hoping he’s wrong on this one. LeMahieu is limited in terms of range at second, but from what I can tell, everything else about his game works pretty well at that position. And his bat makes much more sense at second.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      In a case like that, the receiving team can roster Flaherty, even though it’s too late for the Cubs to do so, right? Otherwise, why would they take him?

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        I think so, yes. Let me heavily emphasis ‘think’. There is a lot of murkiness surrounding the Rule 5, especially when you start getting into situational rules.

  • Vinestal

    Jason Stark is tweeting that his sources are telling him the Street deal is not done and hasn’t been agreed to yet.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Jinx.

  • BD

    Personally, I would only want Stewart if it was going to be for 2B because Headley was already at 3B. However, I would include whatever it would take to get Stewart in a Headley trade (including the original offer) just to get him.

    That is to say, Marmol/Russell/DeWitt/prospect(s) for Headley (and O. Hudson to even out $). With Hudson then you have no need of Stewart.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Uhhh you lost me.

      Are you thinking that Headley and Stewart are on the same team? or did I just read that wrong???

      • BD

        Sorry, I was definitely rushing myself.

        What I meant was Colorado wants something for Stewart, and SD wants something for Headley. I would send all of it to SD for Headley.

    • ottoCub

      I’m liking these thoughts about considering 2B too…

      The Cubs basically NEED infielders: first base, second base, and third base. If they can get a good quality 3B and/or 1B that’s great! But if they can get a good quality 2B who can drive in runs, they should go for that as well. They can always shift existing players around the infield as needed, to complement the new players: DeWitt/Baker can play 3B, Baker/LaHair/Colvin are available for 1B, Barney at 2B or as a utility backup, LeMahieu at 2B or 3B or utility backup, etc.

      The important thing is that the Cubs need to pick up 2 quality infielders. The priority should be on getting infielders who can play solid defense, and at least one of them should be able to drive in runs.

  • montellew

    MSNBC has Pujols agreed to stay in ST Louis….he’s off the market, boys!

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Rosenthal says the Cubs and Rox are talking about swapping Stewart and Tyler Colvin.

    I say, meh. Both are underperforming, and Colvin’s roster spot was in jeopardy. But Stewart costs a whole lot more money.

    • Dumpman

      I like it honestly. You have to believe they have exhausted options for Headley. Colvin is jammed in between a bunch of guys already there and more guys that can potentially come up soon. Our 3B options are a lot less desirable at this point then COF. Its not ideal, but it works. Imagine if Stewart brings his bat as well.

      • Boog

        I doubt that acquiring Stewart means that we are out on Headley… Stewart has played both 2B and corner OF. I think it just means that they can’t wait on everything else to shake out.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          And, here’s the thing: if the Cubs view Stewart as a high upside *possibility* at 3B, who can also be a decent utility player if it doesn’t work out as a 3B regular, then I’m on board.

          • Dumpman

            All these are good points. We just have to underline we’re only giving up Colvin. Colvin for Stewart will more likely help us then hurt us at this point.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That is correct.

            • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

              Stewart strikes out a ton, but if the Cubs think they can whittle those K’s down a touch it could be a very good deal for the Cubs.

              Colvin just needs to play, and I don’t think that’s going to happen with the Cubs. He’s getting crowded out by players behind him in the system. Trading him might be the best move for him.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      I’d rather keep Colvin, Atleast we know hes healthy.

      • Boog

        Yeah, but at least Stewart can use health as an excuse for his performance last year

    • EQ76

      not a sexy move but we may be happier with Stewart than Colvin.. who knows?

    • Rancelot

      Btw Brett, LOVE the picture of Stewart…it’s as if he is impersonating the fielding prowess of Aramis Ramirez.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Choosing pictures for posts is one of my favorite chores…

  • Rancelot

    Wow…just read per Joel Sherman of the NY Post that the Mets are shopping 1B Ike Davis. Why the heck would they shop a 24 year 1B that I thought was their future? If true, would love to see him on the Northside!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Worried about his ankle, maybe? But, like, yeah, I’m sure Cubs would take a look if it’s true he’s available. Mets have a solid front office in place now, who probably see a chip they can pick up a bunch of good prospects for.

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        I’m assuming they would ask quite a bit for him right?

        What do you think it would take to get him?

        • http://Bleachernation Bric

          Probably a lot of top, young pitching which we aint got. Sorry but nobody outside of Hendry’s juice drinking circles considers Samardjia or McNutt worth anything better than the prospects they’ve already got.
          I wish we had Theo a couple of years ago. He probably could’ve got Davis for Ted Lilly, Derrick Lee and Josh Vitters, which was a rumor at the time. But no- Hendry was too sold on Vitters (even though I wasn’t) to even consider it. Instead, we got Kyle Smit, Tim Wallach’s kid and a couple other prospects I can’t even remember. Oh yeah, and we still have Josh Vitters. WooHoo! JIm Hendry’s farm system philosophy at its best.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Shopping, or listening to offers?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        “Talking with suitors seriously.”

  • hansman1982

    Bye Clovin, we hardly knew ye

  • John

    Forget Ian Stewart. Do what you can to get Chase Headley. I’m not sure about his power numbers but his away stats were great last year. I just worry if his pinkie finger is healed.

  • Section 409 Row 2

    A couple things…
    1) It could be that the Cubs are leaking info about going after Ian Stewart to gain leverage in conversations with the Padres that Headley isn’t our only option.
    2) I don’t know what the Padres Farm System looks like at 3B, but the Cubs could acquire Stewart and then flip him and prospects to the Padres for Headley. Since the FA market at 3B is thin, if SD doesn’t have an immediate replacement for Headley in their system they will need to fill that void and I’m sure they don’t see Vitters as being ready if he were to be included in the deal.

  • OHBearCub

    Doubt Stewart is coming to Chicago. I believe they are off in an entirely different direction at 3b. Cuddyer good FA for 3b. We dont have what San Diego is looking for. Freinds dont make the best trading partners. All this talk makes us look like we are desperate. Slow this down which is what Theo is doing. These rumor spreaders dont know anything. They are guessing cause they have nothing to report. I like Cuddyer he doesnt cost anything to sign and he is a great team guy. Keep Marmol and send Russel anywhere. New pitching coach will fix Marmol. Fukudome and Ramirez salaries off the books pay for starting pitching. Get Kiroda.

  • goatbusters

    My head is spinning with all these rumors going in different directions. Some I like, some I don’t but, I will be disappointed if we come out with any anyone that isn’t better all around than what we have.

  • Max

    Just read that the Indians are looking for right handed batters and that Carlos Lee would be a good fit. Any chance they’d consider Soriano?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Problem is, they need a guy to play first base (Hafner can’t do it anymore). Can Soriano?

  • nonesuch

    Buster Olney says Miami will look at trading Hanley Ramirez. Alas, I wish he’d concede to play 3B for another team, we have a disgruntled starting pitcher we could move as part of a swap.

    • jtfromthed

      mlbtr just posted a rebuttal from the Marlins prez on that. Said that he didn’t ask for  his contract to be restructured and that they are not trading Hanley.

  • jtfromthed

    Man I am starting to get seriously frustrated at the lack of anything happening for the cubs. If we get to Friday with no news on any changes I might just flip out.

    • jtfromthed

      and it’s the front office’s fault for putting us on that roller coaster ride all through October and November!

      • MikeL

        Except the front office didn’t put us on a roller coaster ride all through October and November, the media did. I think a lot of people thought Theo and Jed were going to get at least one big name free agent, but if you listen to what Theo and Jed have repeated over and over, there was a strong possibility that they wouldn’t be major players in free agency. They made it clear that they were going to go the way of a long term rebuilding plan and were not looking for a quick fix. It might mean a couple more years of bad baseball on the northside……

        • jtfromthed

          that’s probably true about the media… But Theo and co. have expressed over and over that they’re looking at building up the farm for long term success, but would look at free agents  that fit their requirements of buying their prime years in order to remain competitive in the present.

          So not a total rebuilding mode ala the Astros.

          • MikeL

            Correct. Maybe they haven’t found many players where their value matches their contract demands. Remember, Theo had some failed free agent signings in Boston, so he could be changing his approach on that. Who knows…..MLB network is talking about Prince Fielder going to the Cubs, so something big might still happen. I am just saying, I am not going to be surprised at all if the Cubs sign one or two more marginal free agents and call it an offseason. I don’t think they are rebuilding process is all that similar to the Astros, but I do think they are going to focus primarily on building the a strong farm system over the next two season rather than being big players in free agency. Just my two cents…

  • Barney S

    I love how Hoyer and Epstein keep everything tight lipped. It’s nice because even if we don’t get the guy we want, we have no idea if we were technically pursuing him anyway. It’s like not hooking up with a smoking hot girl. You have no idea if you’re good enough to take her home, but its nice to think about in case it actually does happen

  • Local Idiot

    Don’t we currently have a SS that could be moved to 3rd to make room for a possibly disgruntled SS from another team in exchange for Zambrano?

    • Dumpman

      If you’re hinting at swapping Zambrano with HanRam.. I dont think thats would be viable unless you added Garza +.

  • Local Idiot

    Zambrano and most of his salary for HanRam. We would certainly need to pony up something additional; but not Garza. I don’t think we should bend over.

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