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.

  • Jason

    Wow – Casey Weathers makes Carlos Marmol look like Greg Maddux

  • MightyBear

    I don’t know what everyone’s bitching about. I like this trade. I like Colvin and LeMahieu but lets face it, Quade screwed up Colvin’s chances last year when he didn’t play him and with DeJesus, Byrd, Soriano (which they won’t be able to move), and Jackson, there was no room for Colvin. LeMahieu I think has some real upside but he wasn’t your typical 3b or 2b and was available to be traded. Stewart is left handed, plays good defense, has some pop in his bat and works the count. My only problem with him is he swings through the ball too much. He doesn’t hit left handers too well but my response to that is Jeff Baker. The pitcher has upside if he can find some control. If he does, he’ll help the Cubs. If he doesn’t, he’ll never make it out of AAA. Every trade should be evaluated two years after the trade. Not two minutes.

  • JK

    I think the last few days are an example of moves that the Cubs fans will need to get use to. Namely, once decisions are made that prospects have hit their ceiling that this management will move on much quicker than we have in the past. Gonzalez and Flaherty nice players but lacking in key ingredients. OPS and defensive skills. LeMahieu no power, decent glove no fit for the position. Move on. They are blocking the path of other players that need to be evaluated. I like this approach but it means that we have to trust Theo and crew that they have done their homework and there will be times that they screw up. Colvin could blow up in Denver. Great speed. Good power. Poor contact. But his power could blossom in Denver. Same with LeMahieu. In the right environment his 6 Hr power could turn into 15-20 in Denver. So I like the move. But if you were to tell me that we would have Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers after giving up Gonzalez, Flaherty, Colvin and LeMahieu on the last day of the Winter Meetings, I would have been surprised. But I think we have plenty more moves up our sleeves.

  • die hard

    All you naysayers, dont forget that we no longer have to be scared of the playground bullies aka Pujols , LaRussa and Fielder…the Cubbies can now climb as high up the jungle jim as their little arms and legs will take them without danger of being knocked off… Hendry had to protect the team from this menace…The new guardians dont have to worry about this and as a result can take baby steps with each move….

  • MikeL

    Agreed. I would also add that this trade doesn’t necessarily hurt the Cubs. I actually think that this trade hurts the Rockies more because Colvin has less upside. I honestly think that, at the very least, the Rockies gave up a quality utility infielder for nothing.

  • Runningcub

    Calm down guys, just calm down and think about this. Theo and Jed realize that we aren’t winning the WS this year or next, so instead of spending money hendry style they are being patient!!!! They have a plan and my guess is that Theo is close to shipping Garza,and because of that is deciding to build prospects and is trading for risky high ceiling guys. Guys like Dejesus and Stewart both are coming off bad years,however both have high upsides. Stewarts is obviously higher, and he could possibly become really good. Most players don’t go from numba 1 prospect to garbage unless something was wrong with the team. Theo probably believes that the Cubs can grow him better than the Rockies. As for Colvin doesn’t matter much to me,he was a bench player for life with Cubs, Dj ahhh idk he prolly could have. Been a good pinch hitter in 4 years. So before you turn on the realize we traded two players who were going to be average for a decent prospect ready to rebound, and a player who could either suck or be great, in the end who cares headly or not cubs aren’t gonna win in 2012, so give Ian a chance maybe he’ll be fine. Right now it’s just to early to give up on theo trust me it’s all in his plan.

  • MightyBear

    Here’s the 2012 Cubs as of 12/8/2011:

    DeJesus RF

    Castro SS

    Lahair 1B

    Stewart 3B

    Byrd CF

    Soriano LF

    Soto C

    Barney 2B

    Rotation: Garza, Dempster, Zambrano, Wells, Samardija

    Bullpen: Wood, Marmol, Marshall, Russell, Cashner, Carpenter, Beliveau

    Reserves: Castillo, Baker, Dewitt, Lake, Campana

    Anybody disagree? Where? That’s the way I see it right now. Assuming the Cubs resign Wood. Actually, if they could replace Zambrano with Darvish and Soriano with Brett Jackson, I think that team could be very competitive.

    • CCunt

      Can we please wait until February before we start freaking out about the roster/rotation/lineup?

    • die hard

      We should win the AAA championship no problem unless matched against manager of the year Ryne Sandberg’s team which is usually unbeatable

    • Ogyu

      You honestly think that a major league team with Ian Stewart as cleanup hitter is going to be competitive? You do realize that his breathtaking .464 slugging percentage a couple years ago was achieved playing at altitude and won’t be reproduced in Wrigley.

  • Dean

    Great…just heard that Peter Gammonds says the Cubs told him they lack the cash to get Prince Fielder. Couple that comment with the trade for Ian Stewart and the possible trade/no trade of Matt Garza and it sure seems to me like they’re thowing in the towel for 2012. This is not shaping up to be a very good first off season for Eptein and co.

    • die hard

      need to take a breath and cut this new front office some slack…They know what they are doing….why else would their teams refuse to give cubs permission to talk to them?…What?…their teams were more than willing to let Cubs take them…hmmm, now I see your point…

      • Sweetjamesjones

        Diehard, did you actually come to the defense of the Cubs front office?

        • Fishin Phil

          I have slipped into Bizarro World!

    • jr5

      Sort of like how the Angels only had $15 or $20 million to spend…there’s no advantage in the Cubs saying “Yes, by all means, we’re backing up a Brinks truck for Fielder.” However, there might be the tiny sliver of an advantage in saying they don’t have money.

      So, you know. I’m not too sold on the whole “no money” thing yet.

    • Jed

      I’m not to sure the Cubs would ever tell Gammons anything.

  • Katie

    Let’s see how this plays out. It might be a part of a bigger move. Chill. It’s not Big Jim at the helm anymore. One questionable move and everyone has the vapors. Drink a few beers (Michigan Goat can recommend plenty) and lets see how this plays out from now until Spring Training. I know everyone wanted to crow about our new front office and their smart moves, but NONE of us are in the War Room with Theo, Jed, etc so we have no idea what the hell they are up to. Let them work. Sheesh.

    • MightyBear

      Well said young lady.

  • Mike F

    No reason to believe that senile drunk, sorry but that is just nonsense. Not that I doubt you and that he said it, but let’s examine that. What right thinking employee would tell that imbecile that? No way, they did offer Pujols money and no way even were it true, anyone would articulate that. I don’t know what their complete financial picture is, but I know it’s not that dire. Gammons hates Theo for some reason has been ragging on them since Theo left Boston, so frankly what he says is his imagination.

    It’s hard to judge anything at this moment, and while I tend to view this as a process which has to viewed sometimes then, not now, then being April or May, we’ll have to see where it ends up. I think though, I would pay no attention absolutely none of anything coming from Boston and the poison factory they are. We got the guy they wanted in Sveum and they got a guy teetering on the brink of brilliance or insanity depending on the day and position of the moon. He and Gammons would make a good couple.

    And for the record, I don’t blink an eye over what the Cubs gave up in this trade, seems like a good trade for both clubs. I think over the years, they Cubs by and large have stagnated players in the minors too long. Better to trade them too early than too late. I guess that’s what makes it interesting when people are so excited about trading Garza and it should apply even more to these 24/25 year old lt minor league prospects. Or you can cork them up and lose them in the rule 5 draft like they did today.

  • Chris

    Hey Brett,

    I agree with your post entirely. I currently live in Denver and have had season tickets during each of the past two seasons. Every time I watched Stewart, he looked awful. When I heard the Cubs were looking into him, I thought he might be a nice reclamation project on the side; a good bench guy at the least, who may earn his way into a starting role. And especially if he came cheap. Though to give the Rox two guys of value, as you say, for Stewart is just bizarre to me. I very much question Theo & Co’s first Cubs trade. Like you said, here’s hoping it opens up more exciting avenues.

    On a final note, I guess this means they’re out on Chase Headley. I find that very unfortunate. He’s quite a good hitter (in San Diego, no less), especially when examining his advanced stats. Oh well.

    We Cubs fans do this well: here’s *hoping* Ian Stewart bounces back…


  • CCunt

    FWIW, from reading the Denver Post comments it appears that Rockies fans are pretty pissed that this is the best they could do for Stewart. Either they overvalue their players as much as people here overvalue Cubs players, or we got a pretty good player for a 4th OF and a utility IF ūüėČ

    • Ogyu

      I’m a lot less worried about what the Cubs gave up in the trade as I am by the fact that management would actually target a guy like Stewart as a starter. Maybe you trade for the guy, give him some time, and see if he can get himself back to where he might derserve a crack at a major league starting job. But to go out and say this is the guy we want to get to be our starting third baseman is not promising at all.

    • Chris

      Me and a few friends of mine who follow the Rockies think they got a pretty decent haul for Stewart, who has been garbage the past year to year and a half (at the MLB level)

  • http://facebook ClownDog

    I am done with Cubs… 58 years… and no Sandberg as Manager… Trade Solid young talent like Colvin for what… Same old Sh_t just a different pile… All I have to say is “Go Red Sox” who I will begin to follow… Die Hard no more… Heart getting to Old…

    • Sweetjamesjones

      Jesus. With one trade, you think the Cubs are done? Really? Please go follow that over dramatic pile of shit that is the Red Sox, they will be glad to have you. It’s always easy to follow a champ like that. At the same time when the Cubs do win a Series, I’m sure you will hop right back on the bandwagon.

  • Shawn

    This move fits with what Theo and Jed have been saying all along. The mantra from the start has been player development and scouting. Weighing short term moves against the long term plan. Thats why they sign a guy like David DeJesus to a two year deal. He is a useful player, he can play all outfield positions, and he isn’t going to block anybody. Its why they are willing to take a chance on a former high first pick who has some upside. Our “Big” bat that is likely to be added is a guy like Morales, that is non-tendered, not Fielder. Its why I think more money will be spent on international signings. In particular, Soler and the young Cuban pitcher.

  • Fishin Phil

    Viewing this trade in a vacuum, I’m not really crazy about it.¬† But I’ll wait to see what other moves are made before passing judgement.

  • willis

    Is this the result of our new grain power?
    Just from the PM meetings alone

    Additions….Castillo-converted AA ss, Weathers-tommy john rehaber, Stewart-AAA castoff.

    LOSSES..Colvin, Flaherty, Gonzales, LeMahieu,
    Great Job Grain Trust

  • Fishin Phil

    Damn that Grain Trust!  I am particularly upset with Barley and Oats!

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      They need to stay focused on beer not baseball.

  • Dumpman

    Anyone who doesn’t like this deal needs to step back and rethink it. Stewart is better then Colvin. Stewart also plays 3B. If Stewart plays an avergae 3B and hits between .750 – .800 OPS its a big win for us. Colvin is a 4th OF that refuses to take a walk, and LeMahieu is a super sub. ZiPs projects both Colvin and LeMahieu to OPS in around .680. It projects Stewart to OPS at .780. Factor in the fact we need a 3B, and we dont need a super sub or 4th OF, and its a win already. Now factor is Weathers, who hits high 90’s with a nasty slider and we have something interesting. Obviously Weathers needs serious control / command help, but hes got amazing stuff so I read.

    Stewart could very well could take huge steps foward with the bat as well. He has more upside then both the guys we traded. I haven’t read a lot of the comments but anyone upset that we didn’t trade for Headley should know that we probably tried, but got bogged down by a huge demand.

    Lets say Stewart crashes and burns. Oh well, we non tender him next year and at that point we’ll have a better idea about 3B be it Lake, Vitters, Castro moving over, or a whole slew of things. Guys, we dealt a 4th OF and a super sub for our starting 3B for next season + a possible BP arm. We didn’t get killed here.

  • Andrew

    lets see…we traded crap with potential for crap with potential. obviously theo likes the look of stewarts crap more than colvins. no big deal chill the heck out and let theo do the job he was hired to do. personal thought is theo is saving the big dough for improving the pitching staff and possibly adding fielder. could also be tring to save some money because he knows he wants to eat a couple large salaries(sori, zambrano)

  • Andrew

    anybody know how stewart is defensively?? i know he played a little second base early in his career as well who knows maybe cubs have ideas of playing him there

    • Dumpman

      Hes abotu average to maybe a touch above at 3B. So an upgrade defensively over Aram.

  • RoughRiider

    I thought that, given a chance, Colvin would have rebounded and that 2011 was a “sophomore jinx” year for him. Escpecially with the horrific injury he has in 2010. Stewert too had some injuries after a good start. I hope both of them have good seasons this year. As for me, I will take a wait and see aditude. There are third base and outfield prospects with the Cubs that may fill those positions in the next couple of years. I really don’t expect much from the team this year and anything over third place would be icing on the cake.

  • John

    I was really hoping for a Chase Headly trade…

  • die hard

    Cubs front office is mining for gold, hoping to strike it rich. Thats only way their moves on Sveum, DeJesus, Stewart, and Weathers can be explained. Theo et al sold Ricketts, who doesnt know baseball other than hes the Cubs No 1 fan, on leaving things to them and all will be ok. They may be right. Time will tell. But these moves make it clear who is running the show and its not Ricketts. Poor Guy. He didnt have to spend a billion dollars and counting just to be able to relax in the Bleachers on a sunny July day hoping to catch a home run ball while getting a tan. Buyers remorse is a tricky disease to diagnose. He may have already caught it and doesnt know it. The cure is worse than the symptoms. Hope he makes it because hes a decent guy.

  • JMike

    “In THEO we TRUST”

    Funny how the winter meetings dont go the way you want and people bail on Theo and company already. This 100+ years without a championship has got a lot of ppl on edge…the Cubs are still a couple years away…Theo said from the get go to be patient, SO I will remain patient and see how things pan out. Afterall some of the moves he made in Boston had Sox fans upset, and last I checked I think he did a pretty decent job there!

    • die hard

      and you last checked when?

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Well stated, I just don’t stand all the reactionary, negative comment about such a minor move. I am surprised it took both Colvin and DJ to acquire Stewart, but it’s not a big loss. Colvin is a bust he had a good half of a season and that’s all (Sound familiar – Barney) but people got so excited over that flash and have been crying for him to be a full-time starter ever since. DJ is unproven but it’s not like he’s Castro-esque. So everyone calm down, relax, this move does not break this team, it does not mean Theo and Co. cant be successful. Stay Calm.

      • Cedlandrum

        If Colvin is a bust what is Stewart? We just traded for the guy to be an everyday player.

        • hansman1982

          Stewart also started out as a much better player – top 25 prospect for many years, minor league OBP of .359 OPS of .902 – Colvin’s career minor league record – in 2008 he was #75 prospect and an OBP of .315 and an OPS of .782.¬† Outside of about a season’s worth of games, he has not been a very good player.

          I see this trade as a DJLM for Stewart and Colvin for Weathers (who hasn’t been particularily good reliever in the minors, but then again Colvin hasn’t been particularily good, anywhere)

          Considering how many Cub prospects have failed miserably, I don’t have much of a reaction either way.¬† Powerball ticket (Stewart) for a Hot Lotto ticket (Colvin)¬†and a bunch of green banana’s (DJLM)¬†for a bunch of yellow bananas (Weathers).

  • JMike

    2 World Championships in the last 10 years….compared to 0 in the last 100 years…just sayin

    • die hard

      Thats the old smoke and mirrors argument used on Ricketts…what info do you have to explain away the state of the Bosox today?

      • JMike

        The state of the Red Sox now? Where 86 wins was the lowest win total they had in Theos tenure, or the fact that they had made 5 playoff trips in 8 years, or the fact that even though they didnt make the playoffs they won 90 games this year and 89 games last year WHILE playing in the best division in baseball!!! Or how about the fact that they were a MAJOR player in almost every top free agent on the market every year?

        • EtotheR

          Exactly, JMike…and Theo began with moves like this one.

  • Sam

    This trade has to happen… We needed a lefty power bat… and we needed to make space in the out field. Yes it is a shame to see DJ get traded… But we weren’t going to win a WS because of DJ LeMaheiu and Tyler Colvin… Neither of them is going to turn out to be the next Albert Pujols. Without Stewart we have no one capable of hitting more than 10HRs beside Soriano. We had to add power to our lineup and thats what the Theocracy did. Think before you talk!

    • Cedlandrum

      number of hrs Stewart hit last year—-0 he was so bad he only got 146 abs in the majors.

      • Sam

        Didn’t I just say to think before you talk? And he missed most of the season with a wrist injury… Now I don’t know about you, but I think thats a pretty solid reason for a drop in¬†performance. He’s no Blake DeWitt though… and the last full season he had he hit 18HRs. But you’re right Id rather have Jeff Baker and Blake DeWitt platooning at 3B. Wouldn’t you?!?

    • die hard

      Dont need HR to win….Need at least 5 unselfish players with above avg OBP and above avg speed who know how to play the game….maybe Dejesus and Stewart bring both attributes to the park….The front office thinks so…..and they think that DJ and Colvin never will…also need a leadoff hitter with great speed who will get on base at least twice each game…dont have one yet other than Castro

      • Sam

        HR aren’t the only thing you need to win, but it is important to have at least one power hitter on your team. We have solid bats, but none of them are deep ball threats (except stewart). You need players that can get on base but you also need somebody to bring them home.

  • Oswego Chris

    Wow…I woke up this morning and¬†was surprised to see the world did not end because of the loss of Tyler Colvin and DJ LaMahieu…at least we have passionate fans…I wonder what all of the White Sox blogs were saying when they traded their closer for one “decent” prospect…

    oh wait, there are no White Sox blogs…

  • willis

    Anyone interested in buying a very famous bridge?

  • EtotheR

    If you’ll recall…while Aramis already had a big season under his belt, he was also a major worry to the Pirates when they traded him to the Cubs. They weren’t sure whether or not he was a flash-in-the-pan, could field the position, or respond to coaching. I think we’ll all agree that he did pretty well by us…

    Of course there are “maybes” in this trade…it’s a classic risk-for-reward scenario. If one or both of LeMahieu and Colvin turn productive…or into stars…while Stewart and/or Weathers is a bust…that’s life. The same will be true in reverse. And…it may be that both central figures (Stewart and Colvin) will achieve things they couldn’t have with their previous teams. You never know.

    I guess I just don’t understand anyone throwing Theo and Jed to the scrap heap…especially over a trade that can’t possibly be measured yet. And…for those who want to piss on Theo’s work in Boston…I think you’ll find yourself in a pretty lonely minority on that one…even in Yankee circles.

    Some like to be critical because they think it makes them look like experts. And…even true experts get it wrong from time to time. I like the trade, but I’m also ready to let it play out.

  • MichCubFan

    LaMahieu could be a .270/.315/.400 hitter, maybe.¬† The thing we can only speculate on for both LaMahieu and Stewart is the scouting aspect.¬† I’m sure Theo did his homework here and saw LaMahieu as being overrated and Stewart as having some bounce back potential.