Chicago Cubs Trade DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin to the Rockies for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers

Well, it was the minor deal that had been discussed for days, and tonight the Cubs pulled the trigger. During those days of discussion, the question was: will the Cubs part with Tyler Colvin or DJ LeMahieu for Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart?

It turns out the answer was both.

The Cubs also pick up Casey Weathers, a right-handed minor league pitcher. Weathers, 26, was a first round pick back in 2007, but has never done anything to justify his selection. He’s always struck out a ton of guys, but he’a also always walked a ton of guys. At 26, he’s still not made it out of AA. Suffice it to say, he is a relatively unexciting inclusion. (UPDATE: He was the Rockies’ 14th best prospect before last season according to Baseball America, and he did have Tommy John surgery at one point, so his advanced age is a little more explainable. And, again: he does strike out a ton of batters, to the tune of 11.3 per 9 over his minor league career.)

Which means the Cubs gave up not only Tyler Colvin for Stewart (a swap which would have been acceptable, but unenticing due to Colvin’s cheap contract (relative to Stewart’s)), but also a very useful young player in DJ LeMahieu. When rumors swirled that the Rockies wanted LeMahieu, alone, for Stewart, I thought it was too much to give up for a guy the Rockies were looking to dump. It was reported that the Cubs said no to the LeMahieu for Stewart proposal, and I smiled.

So you can only imagine what I’m thinking now that the Cubs have given up both Colvin and LeMahieu for Stewart.

I’m not too happy about it.

Let’s be clear: neither Colvin nor LeMahieu figured prominently into the Cubs’ immediate future. Colvin showed absolutely nothing last year to demonstrate that his 2010 season wasn’t a mirage. And LeMahieu, 23, had the glove for third, but not the bat, and had the bat for second, but not the glove.

I understand moving them.

But they had value. LeMahieu, in particular, was always a kid just outside the Cubs’ top 10 prospects, and many scouts love his bat. He may not develop power, but becoming a .300/.360/.420 hitter at the big league level was not out of the question. If he blossoms in Colorado, I may be despondent. (Ok, that was dramatic.)

As for who the Cubs pick up, in addition to Weathers, I’m just not that excited about Stewart. Obviously the men in charge see the upside – Stewart is still just 26, destroyed the minors when he was young at every level, and had a decent season and a half two years ago – and I’m not going to question the scouting side of this thing. In isolation, trading LeMahieu and Colvin for Stewart and Weathers is understandable.

What I question is whether Stewart should be handed the Cubs’ starting third base job in 2012, to the exclusion of other possible candidates. Based on what the Cubs gave up to get him, it seems like he will. He’s coming off a lost year in 2011 and a wrist injury, and many scouts – Kevin Goldstein, among them – simply don’t believe he’s a big league regular. And, he’s scheduled to make some $2.5 million in 2012 (with two more arbitration years thereafter). He was at risk for being non-tendered on Monday, but apparently the Cubs felt they couldn’t risk another team swooping in and taking him.

I’m going to have to let this news sink in over the next few days, and hear from the men upstairs, before fully making up my mind. Maybe Stewart won’t be the starter. Maybe this is a precursor to other moves. Maybe saving money at third base was desperately necessary for other really exciting, super awesome moves.

We’ll see.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

251 responses to “Chicago Cubs Trade DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin to the Rockies for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers”

  1. Jed

    Any chance we still go after Headley?

  2. MichiganGoat

    Could Stewart play second if we are still pursuing Headley?

    1. Serio

      Love where your heads at

    2. Luke

      If Stewart goes to second, I like this trade more.

    3. John

      No. The Cubs are not going after Headley anymore. The Pads wanted Cashner or Jackson for Headley. Stewart will be the Cubs starting 3B

    4. Matt

      This is exactly what I was thinking. We all need to calm down and be patient.

  3. Spencer

    Is this a joke?

    1. BetterNews

      Hey, don’t use my line!

  4. Kansas Cubs Fan

    I’m with you, not looking like a good move… Let’s see what Jed and Theo say, maybe they can make some sense of it.

  5. gblan014

    Agreed, this trade sucks. And while we’re on the subject, has anyone else picked up on the fact that David DeJesus is a lot like Kosuke Fukudome, only cheaper?

    1. Kansas Cubs Fan

      Cheaper and will put up numbers for a whole season.

      1. gblan014

        Ok so Kosuke would hit .330 the first two months, then suck the rest of the year to finish at .260. If we’re lucky, DeJesus will float around .280 the whole year (keeping in mind that he hit .240 last year). Not a world of difference in my book but I suppose we could agree to disagree. Otherwise, they’re pretty much identical – fielding, baserunning, etc.

        1. Kansas Cubs Fan

          Keep in mind last year was a unlucky year for him in oakland his BABIP was down quite a bit from his career average.

    2. BetterNews

      Yep, and maybe slower.

    3. die hard

      Shush!….our secret

  6. Joe

    uh…..really?? Ian Stewart? Don’t like this at all. I get trying to be patient, but is trading for a guy, who during his “decent” period hit .256 with an OPS+ of 97, really that beneficial for this team long term? Are his defensive tools that amazing? I just don’t get the move other than him being a one-year stop gap. Which if he is, as Brett stated, is a pretty steep price to pay for a one and done player or it creates enough “room” to sign a player like fielder or aggressively go after the Cubans or Darvish.

    1. Spencer

      and a career .236 hitter

      1. die hard

        But whats his avg during night games when wind blowing in and wind chill 35? If above .500 hes our guy!!!

  7. Luke

    You are seriously undervaluing Casey Weathers. He didn’t convert to pitching until he was in college, so don’t be alarmed by the high walk rate. And he hasn’t gotten past Double A because he basically lost two seasons to Tommy John surgery.

    BA ranked him as the Rockies #14 prospect heading into 2011, and said the Rockies thought he would be in the majors during the 2009 season. By the way, they ranked him #14 despite him basically not pitching for two years.

    He needs to harness his stuff and improve the control, but the ceiling here is sky high. He’s got closer potential written all over him. Standard prospect caveats apply… he may never reach his potential, but that’s a given with any prospect.

    I hate giving up LeMahieu. I had him as the starting second baseman for 2012, and now I don’t see a starting second baseman on the roster. But in terms of raw upside, the Cubs won this trade handily. They may lose it on actual production, but the overall talent level of the roster is higher tonight than it was this afternoon.

    1. Cedlandrum

      I’m sorry but this trade is a big pile of flaming shit. I don’t care what kind of potential the guy has, he had a whip of 1.75 this year and this was 2 years after tjs. He walked the same number he SO this year. The Cubs got flat out fleeced in this deal.

      We lost 4 players who are MLB ready players today. We got back a crappy 3rd baseman, a pitcher who can’t throw the ball over the plate and a guy who has been pitching for 2 years. So yeah great we have some high upside guys, but we are a worse club because of it. Even if you look at the last two guys as potential top end bullpen guys, whoopee that is pretty much have a system flush with those guys. How many left handed power hitting threats do we have? How many giften hitting 2nd baseman do we have? I bet Flaherty could produce at the same level as Stewart this year.

      Colvin for Stewart in my opinion isn’t a great deal. Colvin in a horrible year this year was still as good as Stewart. Difference is that Stewart has been in the bigs for 4 years and Colvin 2. Stewart is what he is. Colvin I at least expect to bounce back. At the end of the day I wouldn’t have been too upset but still wouldn’t have liked it. But to include LeMahieu is just stupid.

      So far the braintrust isn’t off to a great start in my book. Dejesus- meh, coaching staff- ugh, and now this.

      1. BetterNews

        Yes, I can see 30 losses next year.

        1. Rob

          132-30? Yep. I’ll take that. This Stewart kid may just have the goods!

  8. njriv

    I was wondering the same thing Jed, but maybe this plays into what Brett said at the end.

  9. Cheryl

    Can’t understand it unless it’s a flip to something else.

  10. Edgar

    Disappointed. Are these the moves they are going to make? First it was not getting cj Wilson now this! Hope we at least get fielder

  11. EtotheR

    Brett…Casey Weathers was considered the Rockies closer of the future before Tommy John surgery. He’s just now really coming back. I’m not sure he’s to be dismissed. His K-to-BB ratio sucks, but the Rockies aren’t known for their pitching development skills…before or after the humidor.

    Stewart was the #1 prospect in baseball for quite some time. A change of scenery sometimes helps these guys…when they fail in the place they were originally hyped.

    And…I guess I just don’t see LeMahieu the way you do.

    I’m willing to see how this one works.


    1. EtotheR

      Also…my understanding is that Stewart went back down to the minors last summer, and raked. They said he actually regained a lot of confidence.

      1. ferrets_bueller

        to the tune of a ridiculous 14 homers in 45 games.

    2. Cedlandrum

      He isn’t just coming back. He has pitched 2 full seasons since TJS. Neither was good.

  12. Matt Murton

    Loving this trade. Seriously, the Cubs got two potential studs for a couple of guys who project as average, at best. Colvin was the man and really had a lot of potential, but I think the bat-to-the-chest thing might have totally messed up his career. Say what you want about LeMahieu, but when I watched him play I just didn’t see a ‘baseball player.’ He’s a good athlete and a big kid, but a kid that big should not have such a level swing as he does.

    Stewart and Weathers are baseball players. I think Stewart will end up being as good as, if not better than, Headley (or at least be someone to bridge the gap and provide some pop out of the 6th spot in the lineup until Vitters shows up), and Weathers could end up being a gem. He blows smoke on the mound, and has the stuff to be a top of the line 8th inning guy.

    Two young, TALENTED pieces to add to the puzzle. Just because the prospect-star has dimmed on these guys doesn’t mean they still don’t have time to develop into the players they were projected to be. Talent doesn’t go away, and I think the new coaching staff will be able to get the most out of the two.

    1. Wilbur

      Agree totally.

      If you want to find a stud you have to trade your mediocrity to gamble on what players could be versus what they have been. If these two Rockies had played to their potential you’d never get them for an outfielder with a hole in his swing so large that you could drive a truck through it and a minor league infielder with no position.

      I expect and welcome a lot more of these moves.

  13. jr5

    Maybe they like Barney more than we do. (Edit: Not that I don’t like him. I think he’s a perfectly acceptable 7/8 hitter, or utility guy, on a good team. If they thought Lemahieu was nothing more than that in his own right, that could explain the deal.) If they thought LeMahieu was basically a lesser version of Barney, or even equal (but with a higher trade value) then there’s no reason they wouldn’t trade him.

    I’m not too broken up about it. Middle infield/utility guys aren’t exactly a rarity in the Cubs system, although losing Flaherty and Lemahieu on the same day thins the ranks, while Ian Stewart at least fills a hole.

  14. Morgan

    Good trade Steward going to be good here in Chicago, lets face it Colvin many would say never really got the chance to be everyday player, but there has be a reason for that, and for D.J i never saw him as a starter for this club only utility, Steward had a solid year few years ago, but not much since cause hes been injured, but this guy has chance to hit 20-30 hr a year, It was hard to watch colvin last year hit, he had really no trade value after last year

  15. die hard

    This board is becoming soooo negative. Get a grip fans. The front office looked at the spread sheets on Colvin and Lameheu and didnt like the data points. The computer is only the messenger …..

    The numbers show that neither Cub would ever succeed under the guidelines set by the front office …and that the two Rockies may succeed. So, thats that.

    Colvin never recovered confidence after being impaled by baseball bat. Lameheu is an unknown who could turn into next Mike Schmidt if plays ever day. Stewart plays above avg D which will take some pressure off of Castro. Weathers may free up Smardzja to be a starter.


    these players only here to transfer planes for delivery to another team as pieces of a bigger trade. Should be interesting

    1. Sweetjamesjones

      Almost like the pot calling the kettle black.

    2. Wilbur

      DH, you know who loves you, but I’ve got to call you on this one.

      I graduated a year behind Mike Schmidt at a neighboring HS.  DJ at no point in his career or in any point in the future will ever resemble Mike Schmidt other than they have the same number of chromosomes.

      1. die hard

        Putting lipstick on a pig of a trade is not easy. Understand why you feel nobody can carry Schmidt’s jock strap and you may be right..just trying to point out (inartfully as it appears) that Theo may have made huge mistake if this kid, who is a raw boned natural athlete like MS, could be a late bloomer… for a brief nano second last yr I thought I saw a glimmer of the second coming of MS in this we’ll never have benefit of his services… hope he hits 4 HR in a game at Wrigley in 2017….will cheer him each turn around the bases as one of ours who got away…Lou Brock, we hardly knew ya

        1. Oswego Chris

          yes. I am sure DJ Lamahieu is going to be another Mike Schmidt.  The Hall of Fame is loaded with guys who hit 7 homers in three minor league seasons and then hit over 500 in the bigs.  That’s OK, because Stewart projects to be like Eddie Mathews and Weathers is comparable to Goose Gossage…

          Colvin only projects out to be a cross between Reggie Jackson and Mel Ott.

          1. die hard

            For the record, Mike Schmidt struggled his rookie season of 1973. He had a batting average of .196 and struck out 136 times, …just saying

  16. bacboris

    With a preface of the obligatory In theo I trust. (and with no Die Hard fatalism) but so far I’m left with more questions than answers for the Cubs.

    1. Based on the numbers available online, who would feel more comfortable with Stewart than Flaherty?

    2. If the plan is for SP, why has the discussion centered on Koruda and a flyer on Darvish. When Bedard and Wilson signed for less than expected, what were the qualms? Im not saying E. Jackson, Kuroda, Oswalt, and Darvish arent solid options (whether for the future or to trade before the deadline). But if it becomes another series of Lopez, Davis, and Millwood type hacks there should be some real questions as to what the plan is. Im not against a low risk high upside signing like Pineiro or Webb but that shouldn’t be where the conversation on SP ends for this Cubs off-season.

    These questions aren’t meant to be doomsayer or nagging (i,e: the why hasn’t K. hill been dropped or soriano traded) but instead are attempts to try and figure out where the ship is headed. For now, I content myself with the certainty that the brain trust is far wiser than my armchair qb’ing and look forward to something great: (maybe a fielder at 6 years for 21 avg?) post from Brett sometime soon.

  17. Chief

    For what it’s worth, Keith Law likes the Cubs side of this deal, and I tend to trust him on prospects…

    1. Cedlandrum

      Law is a tool. He compares Matt Sczcur to Juan Pierre. They are no where near the same tool set.

    2. die hard

      What does Keith Law know and when did he know it?

  18. Robert

    I’m done. This offseason was gonna be big and bright. Now… Theo is clueless. We don’t need anymore Jeff bakers on our team. I’m so lost. I’m done listening to cubs news for a while. It’s pitiful

    1. Robert

      And for what it’s worth… The cubs DON’T need anymore bullpen help! If there’s one area on the team that’s fine , it’s the bullpen!

    2. BetterNews

      I had big expectations too. Its all going down the tubes fast.

      1. duck

        you realize it’s december….. right?

    3. die hard

      Stand and fight. Dont turn tail and run. Share your ideas with everyone because the front office reads this blog as does many players, coaches and even the manager. Maybe your ideas will be put into action. Never know.

      1. BetterNews

        Seems like everything just got started and its already to late!

    4. untitledreality

      Jesus, the guys have been on the job for a month. You cannot rebuild a team in a week, especially one as hopeless as the current Cubs roster.

      Ease up.

  19. Sam

    Id like this move a whole lot more if the cubs get Prince Fielder

    1. die hard

      Baseball doesnt allow designated runners and he will need one in a few years if continues to gain weight at current pace. So, Cubs can find better uses for $300,000,000

      1. duck

        300 million seems about right.

      2. Sam

        No your totally right, we can definitely rely on Ian Stewart for all of our home runs because if we don’t get Prince Fielder stewart will be the only one on our team capable of hitting more than 10HRs. But yea lets pass on fielder, cuz LaHair and Stewart are all the power we need… Right?? Im tired of people talking about how Fielder would be a waste… If you thought last season was bad just wait and see what a cubs team without Fielder will look like… If the season started tomorrow our 3 4 and 5 hitters would be Stewart LaHair and Soriano. But yea lets totally pass on one of the best hitters in the game for LaHair… Sounds like a solid plan to me…

        1. DeJesus
        2. Castro
        3. Stewart
        4. Soriano
        5. LaHair
        6. Soto
        7. Jackson
        8. Barney

        We make the Pirates look like the all-century team with that line-up!

  20. Max

    Wow. I’m very mad about this. My faith in Epstein-Hoyer just dropped dramatically. Are the Cubs a temporary stop en route to Denver, because this trade is pathetically lopsided in favor of the Rockies.

    1. die hard

      Deal for Boston’s Crawford in works. Be patient grasshopper.

      1. gblan014

        Haha well put. “And throw in some of that leftover chicken and beer!”

  21. frankymunster

    I think the pitcher will be sent to Boston for Theo Compensation. I am wondering if we still get chase and move Ian to 2nd?

    1. njriv

      I would like that so much better. You never know with these guys upstairs.

  22. Josh Z

    Agreed. Stewart not only has bad numbers but remember they are inflated due to Coors Field so they will likely be worse in Wrigley,

    1. ferrets_bueller

      Not true. Coors has been, for a significant amount of time, a fairly neutral park.

    2. untitledreality

      Posted this on Cubs Den earlier…

      “Well, if there is one positive to mention about Stewart its that his power doesn’t seem to be an effect of Coors Field. Here are his splits from 2009/2010:

      2009 Home: 8 2B / 13 HR / .477 SLG
      2009 Away: 11 2B / 12 HR / .451 SLG

      2010 Home: 5 2B / 6 HR / .402 SLG
      2010 Away: 9 2B / 12 HR / .480 SLG

      Can’t say I have ever seen a Rockies player have splits like that before.”

  23. Jason

    I’m normally in agreement with Brett, but I’m with Luke and Matt on this one. The upside on Stewart is through the roof, and Weathers has very good stuff. At one point Stewart was compared to the next Chase Utley. Where we are at, we need as many high upside guys as we can get our hands on….even if it means taking a gamble on guys that we are buying low while selling high on guys with a lower ceiling. Yes, Colvin and LeMahieu had value but it was so that we could make trades like this.

  24. BetterNews

    What numbers are Theo and Hoyer crunching? It sure isn’t critical pitching or batting numbers.

  25. MikeL

    Wow, I am stunned by some of the responses on here. Do you really think the Cubs could’ve much more than this for Tyler Colvin?!?! Really?!?! Most people were in agreement after 2010 that Tyler Colvin was probably going to decline, he did. It was looking like he was not going to return to 2010 form, so the end result would probably be that he would be released. Does this trade make the Cubs worse? No. Does this trade potentially make the Cubs better? Yes! Will Ian Stewart be an every day player? Maybe not, but time will tell. I think way too many people are thinking short term instead of long term. Stewart is 26, and if he even sniffs his 2010 form, he would be a great utility option once they add more players going forward into 2012, 2013, and 2014. It’s not like we just traded an all star outfielder for a busted prospect. Stewart can still give you decent production. Relax everybody!!!!

    1. BAMF

      I completely agree. Anyone expecting the Cubs to win the world series next year is out of their minds. Everyone knew going into this that it would be a couple years before the Cubs are expected to really compete. Unless a deal comes up that is too good to pass up, why compromise long term objectives for short term gains. I like the Cubs sitting in the weeds. Let’s not forget we have time to see how the season plays out as well. The Cubs do not have to have their roster set for 5 years by the end of the winter meetings. Be patient and let the front office do what they get paid to do. Ian Stewart, Casey Weathers, Colvin, or DJ LeMahieu were not anyone’s answer to the problem the Cubs were facing last year when Hendry got canned.

  26. frankymunster

    No more Camp Colvin : (

  27. Cheryl

    Have to wait this one out. This may be a part of something else. Also, Weaver nay be better than the numbers next year. Don’t forget the scouting department has been beefed up considerably and they may see something we don’t.

    1. BetterNews

      Yes, a better Cubs team, 400 light years away.

      1. Jed

        Fun fact: Light years measures distance, not time. In response to your comment: So you’re saying there’s a chance this year?

        1. BetterNews

          Wrong. A light year is a measure of distance and time. To answer your quest., yes the Cubs do have a chancer to make the playoffs! Much more of a chance than last year.

    2. die hard

      And maybe now Selig, after seeing these moves, will force Bosox to compensate Cubs for taking Theo.

  28. Kyle

    I don’t care about what we gave up. It saves us the trouble of waiving Colvin, who is more or less worthless, and I’m not desperately worried about losing LeMahieu.

    The problem here is that I don’t really want Stewart at all.

    He’s mediocre defensively. His offense is a huge question mark. He had a couple of seasons that looked superficially decent, but that was in Colorado and his high strikeout rate makes his collapse predictable.

    I’d say that I’m worried that he’d lose power coming off a major wrist injury, but he hasn’t homered in 56 consecutive MLB games, so that’s kind of moot.

    He’ll likely be due between $2.5 and $3 million in arbitration. That’s just a waste of $2 million in overpay.

    1. Cedlandrum

      I’m pretty sure Colvin still has an option. So I don’t think they would have had to waive him.

      1. BetterNews

        Don’t believe so.

        1. Cedlandrum

          He was a september call up in 09. Made the roster in 10 in spring training was up for the year. In 11 he burned an option. He should still have a least one option.

          1. BetterNews

            I think he burned 2

            1. jr5

              You can only burn one a season, I’m fairly sure. Once you get sent down/called up once in a year, you can be sent down/called up an infinite amount of times for the rest of that season without it affecting your options.

              I’m 95% sure on that.

              1. Cedlandrum

                well that is 100% correct

            2. Cedlandrum

              You have 3 options.

  29. chris margetis

    There is nothing in this deal that guarantees Steward being the starting 3B, it’s probably just a backup plan and prospects for more potential deals.

    1. Kyle

      Then we shouldn’t be spending $2.5 million (my guess at his arbitration award) for a backup plan. That’s an inefficient use of resources.

  30. chris margetis

    excuse my typo, “Stewart”

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