Cubs Claim Adrian Cardenas From A’s, Designate Blake DeWitt for Assignment

Today the Chicago Cubs claimed infielder Adrian Cardenas off waivers from the A’s, and in a corresponding move, designated Blake DeWitt for assignment.

Sort of wow.

First on Cardenas. The 24-year-old former top prospect put up great numbers in the PCL last year (AAA), but then again, who didn’t? (I’m being a bit unfair: he’s had good numbers at other levels as well – he just doesn’t have any power.)

Cardenas plays all over the field, but would likely focus on the middle infield with the Cubs. Cardenas hasn’t yet had a shot to make it in the bigs, and, given his relative youth, could still offer some upside. We’ll have more on Cardenas soon, though he was discussed here briefly when he was designated for assignment a week and a half ago. Cardenas bats lefty (like DeWitt), so it’s fair to wonder whether he might steal some starts at second base.

On DeWitt, this is something of a surprise – but at the same time not.

Back in December, I openly wondered whether DeWitt would even be tendered a contract by the Cubs, so I suppose de-rostering him now isn’t all that shocking. On the other hand, the Cubs did tender DeWitt a contract, suggesting they were planning to keep him in the mix for 2012 – perhaps even getting another shot to start at second base.

By designated DeWitt for assignment, the Cubs have removed him from the 40-man roster, and will have 10 days to trade him, release him, or place him on waivers. If they place him on waivers, he can be claimed by another team (who will have to put him on their 40-man roster, and take on his $1.1 million salary for 2012). If waived, it’s very hard to see DeWitt not being claimed. If he’s not claimed, it’s somewhat hard to see the Cubs paying him $1.1 million to be AAA depth. In that case, the Cubs would probably release DeWitt, and another team would sign him, saving the Cubs about $500k (which is about what they’ll spend on Cardenas if he makes the roster).

A trade is still possible within the next 10 days.

DeWitt was the centerpiece when Jim Hendry unloaded Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot on the Dodgers at the deadline in 2010. A former decent prospect, DeWitt was a guy who could play beautiful defense at third base, but never had the bat for the position. And his glove never quite developed at second – worse, his bat totally left him in his early days with the Cubs, robbing him of a chance to take over full-time at second base.

Ultimately, the Cubs are not a whole lot better or worse after this move, but they might save about $600k and get a little upside in the process.

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

126 responses to “Cubs Claim Adrian Cardenas From A’s, Designate Blake DeWitt for Assignment”

  1. Kyle

    I’m really not surprised that Dewitt didn’t make the team. He doesn’t do anything Jeff Baker doesn’t do.

    I’m not a huge Cardenas fan, but I trust the Brain Trust. If they like him, I like him (Shut up Ian, you are the exception).

    1. TWC

      “(Shut up Ian, you are the exception).”

      I think my favorite thing about the comments section of late is learning all the ways that Kyle hates Ian Stewart.

      1. Kyle

        The longer the offseason goes on, the more some little part of me wants to like him. Theo and Co. are supposedly good at cleaning up swings, and I do like how we are trying to exploit Wrigley’s friendliness to lefthanded power.

        But my heart is so hardened to him at this point that I can’t turn back now.

        1. JasonB

          I’m surprised they didn’t keep DeWitt as a back up plan in case Stewart failed.  I figured all along that was the reason we retained him.  Now they only have Baker to back him up and Baker, to put it mildly, sucks against righties.  Guess they plan to go with Stewart, whom I still like better than Colvin because he can draw a walk and plays a more premium position at 3B, but he has a lot of work to do.

    2. ferrets_bueller

      I love ian stewart.

    3. Ian Afterbirth

      Huh? What?

      1. TWC

        Kyle doesn’t like bands that want to destroy corporate America.  HTH.

        1. hardtop

          wait… there are bands that don’t want to destroy corporate america? huh, who knew?  must be that toby keith guy and the rest of that poser country garbage….

        2. Bric

          Weather Channel, I enjoy your postings and you provide us all with a couple of hotties to talking about storm systems over Tennessee but sometimes your abbreviations are confusing. HTH? Please expound. Thanks.

          In any case, Blake DeWitt is just the next bad Hendry deal to be removed from the team. To think the Mets were considering Ike Davis for Lilly and Vitters in early July a couple of years ago. But Hendry was still in his non-denial denial stage of “All we need is hot streak” and “We’re not going to mortgage the future…” blah, blah, blah. Thankfully, that genius is gone.

          1. TWC

            “I enjoy your postings … but sometimes your abbreviations are confusing. HTH? Please expound. Thanks.”

            http://bit.ly/z4lsSB.  HTH.

            1. Bric

              Thanks, bro. ITLTLTUFM
              (I’m too lazy to look things up for myself.)

              1. TWC

                Now you’re getting the hang of it, kid!

          2. MichiganGoat

            Hope to help
            How the hell
            Ha on The Weather Channel reference I can see his hippie weather cast.
            “Dude it’s like sunny, so like yeah”

            1. ferrets_bueller

              ‘Weather Channel” That seriously had me rolling, lmao.

              1. MichiganGoat

                Hey ferrets check you message board inbox

          3. baseballet

            I didn’t know the Mets considered trading Ike Davis for Ted Lilly and JV. That gives me a headache. I’m going to get a cup of coffee. Thanks for nothing Bric.

        3. DocWimsey

          Maybe Kyle dislikes well-known mathematicians that it carries over? Or maybe it is former Stones…..

  2. JulioZuleta

    I like it, but Kevin Goldstein isn’t very impressed. Twitter:
    “Darwin Barney shouldn’t play every day, but he’s a wonderful defender and 80 makeup guy. He’ll still be in MLB when Cardenas is forgotten.”

  3. Luke

    I was hoping earlier in the winter that the Cubs could move DeWitt and let Flaherty have those at bats.

    At least one of them came true. If Baltimore doesn’t keep Flaherty on the 25 man, I might go 2-fer.

  4. Ryan

    Cardenas had pretty good numbers in AAA last year, would be awesome if he could be a steady 2B for us, I dont think Barney is anything more than a utility guy.

    A number of articles says he will more than likely backup the SS or 2B but who knows, different environment…maybe he’ll thrive.

    Wishful thinking? lol.

  5. michael r

    definitely an interesting move!

    should be just as interesting to see how this all shakes out.

  6. Kyle

    Actually, I take that back. I’m trying, but I just can’t make myself like Cardenas. I don’t see anything there but a younger Blake Dewitt with less power.

    Why not just non-tender Dewitt earlier in the offseason, rather than pay him $1.1 million to avoid arbitration and then DFA him? Seems wasteful.

  7. DannyBallgame

    If he can hit a little bit, I think its a good move. Maybe he challenges Barney at 2nd, maybe he backs up both middle infield positions. Either way, a potential bat is better than no bat (DeWitt)

    1. Brad Barber

      You never know when no bat becomes Jose Bautista … that being said I still think its a good move

  8. a_mazz_ing

    The one thing that jumps out at me is a decent OBP. He has no power, and relatively little speed. So he’s a LH Barney that can actually get on base? Sounds good to me. Just like Barney, he sounds like a backup. Or maybe you platoon those two at 2B. I couldn’t stand DeWitt so happy to see him DFA.

    1. Kyle

      If he could play 2b defensively nearly as good as Barney, Cardnenas would have been in the majors two years ago. Unfortunately, his defense there is supposed to be “fringey.”

      1. a_mazz_ing

        At 24 he is still young enough. And he was a top prospect as of a couple years ago, something Barney never was. I really just am not a Barney fan. He does not do much for me (he is good with the glove, but that’s about it).

  9. Noah

    The front office could also be thinking that, at $1.1 million DeWitt is likely to make it through waivers, nor would they be all that upset if someone claimed him. If DeWitt makes it through waivers and the front office decides they don’t like Cardenas as much as DeWitt midway through the spring, they could always DFA Cardenas and then put DeWitt back on the 40 man.

    Although I do agree with the consensus that I don’t greatly see the appeal of Cardenas since he’s also a fringy defender at 2B. He appears to be a 2 year younger version of DeWitt with less power. I also think it’s hard to project just how well Cardenas would draw walks at the MLB level at this point.

  10. Norm

    A move not worthy of all the discussion it will generate on a slow day like today…both are fringe players that wont have much impact on the future.

  11. pfk

    Good move in my opinion.

  12. andrewmoore4isu

    type out his stats > linking us to his stats

    me=lazy

    but for other lazy people he had a .314 avg in 491 ABs with 56 SO 47 BB 5 HRs 13SB 6 CS

    So really, nothing special

  13. Toosh

    The Lilly trade just keeps looking better. Thank you again, Jim Hendry.

  14. MichiganGoat

    Another get younger move by the FO, the subtle yet impressive changes over this offseason should really convince everyone that there is a real plan and true genius at work. Great move.

    1. JR 1908

      I agree with that Goat. It’s exciting to see the FO active, and actually looking towards the future. They really do seem to have a plan and sticking to it. Once the rest of the Hendry contracts fall off, they can kill it in free agency too.

      1. Brad Barber

        I don’t think this is about getting younger or cheaper but about getting better. DeWitt has proven in his 4 or so seasons to be average, at best, with the bat. Cardenas has the chance to be better than him, so the Cubs are gambling on it. But it’s not like they are really gambling — because it sounds like Cardenas can produce the equivalent value of DeWitt, at least. The only way this sours for the Cubs is if DeWitt pulls a Jose Bautista

        1. MichiganGoat

          Agreed about the getting better; although, Cardenas may be no better than Dewitt but he is younger. The FO has replaced an average players for a younger, cheaper, more-controlled, and higher upside player. This has been their goal this entire off season trade for youth, pick up comeback/high-potential players and avoid constricting long term contracts. Once the home grown talent start to appear the focus will shift toward signing free agents. It is really exciting to see the plan unfolding, in two years everyone in baseball will be in awe of what the Cubs have built.

          1. Jerome Walton was a great prospect!!!!

            “in two years everyone in baseball will be in awe of what the Cubs have built.”, yeah or the cubs could be in worse shape than the 93 pittsburgh pirates with NO ONE anyone wants to trade for. Gotta have balance of vets and youth to win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        2. Kyle

          I really don’t know if I’d call Cardenas “better” than Dewitt.

          I’d say he has more upside but worse.

          So if they both have their best-case season, Cardenas is probably a little better. But more likely, Dewitt will do everything Cardenas does and hit 5-8 extra homers.

  15. DannyBallgame

    I agree Brad. DeWitt has proven not to be a valuable player. Barney is a better version of him, and Cardenas should be a better option than both of them offensively.

    1. Brad Barber

      I’m still holding out hope that Barney will produce. I know it’s not likely, but he’s a good guy and I’d like to see him do well. I say if he can handle the bat to the tune of a .285 BA, he’ll probably keep the job at 2B, unless somebody else really starts producing

  16. D17FUZZ

    I agree with the goat too!!!

  17. Brian Myers

    Actually, Cardenas fits the potential player profile the front office likes better than DeWitt. Blake was striking out roughly double the amount of time he walks, while Cardenas has actually improved to a point where he’s only a bit worse than break even. So, it’s about salary and plate discipline with a similar (it seems) glove.

  18. die hard

    good pick up but dont agree with sacking DeWitt….need players who can play more than one position and Baker is one dimensional..would rather he be let go

    1. Turn Two

      I tend to agree- Dewitt was always noted for his work ethic and he is very young. He seems to make more sense for a team changing its culture. I am still not sure the purpose of Baker on this club. He makes more sense for a contender.

      1. die hard

        hope hes not the comp to Bosox for Theo?….too much

        1. MichiganGoat

          Ah that would be fine, but yes it is too much. However I’d rather Dewitt go rather than lose a prospect like Sczur.

        2. Brady

          Just a thought but with 10 days to move Dewitt or make a decision on him, as well as the impending compensation within the next week or so, what if Dewitt is the compensation. We already replaced him so there is no skin off our teeth and he sounds like someone we can slide off as compensation. Just a thought.

      2. WGNstatic

        I think Baker’s value comes in having some pretty big question marks at 1B, 3B, and to a lesser extent 2B.

        No, the Cubs are not going to win with Baker as an everyday player at any of those positions. But, he should be able to at least add enough stability to lessen the demands to prematurely bring up a Rizzo of Vitters from AAA if LaHair or Stewart struggle.

        1. Turn Two

          Only problem with that logic is Dewitt also can play 3rd and while I guess Baker could play first behind Lahair, he is about as much a solid backup first baseman as Dewitt would be. That is to say, an ok desperate option, but he is not the answer in the long or short term to a backup 1st baseman.

          1. Andrew

            Baker is righthanded and crushes lefties so he makes a lot more sense as the backup to lefties Stewart and Lahair than Dewitt. I’ve always liked Baker as a limited player especially more now since we have more lefties starting this year than usual.

  19. die hard

    Maybe trade already in works of Dewitt to Baltimore who could use help at 2B

    1. Andrew

      I love the sound of that trade, but since Baltimore had a pretty crappy record, they probably could get Dewitt once the cubs put him on waivers for nothing so i kinda doubt it. Dewitt and Soriano bundle to them for a half of a pie would be nice.

      1. die hard

        I believe Baltimore received 2 decent pitchers yesterday in trade….maybe one coming to Cubs for DeWitt is in works

  20. 2much2say

    Dewitt is Boston Comp for sure. So, they got a guy to match the loss.

    1. Brady

      Pretty much what I just conjectured before reading all the comments. Next time maybe I will finish reading before commenting ha ha.

  21. Shakes

    The Braintrust has many ideas they are 3 steps ahead of all of us

  22. Cheryl

    Perhaps they’re hoping for someone to break through at second base from the minors. Who besides Junior Lake night have that potential? From what’s been written about Lake I think he needs another year in the minors. But more trades are a definite possibility. Were there any packages for Garza that have both a major league ready picher and second baseman as part of the package?

  23. Levo

    Why do I feel like this year is a big chemistry experiment? But the problem is….we are still paying top dollar to see what happens when you dump all these unknown elements into a beaker. I understand that we have to wait to compete….but is there any reason through all of this we can’t get a bit of a discount in tickets?

    1. Andrew

      If you don’t wanna pay, then you don’t have to go. The cubs have no reason to lower prices when they will still fill up the stadium every game. It always irritates me when fans complain about ticket prices. These things aren’t necesities, you can watch the game on tv or listen to it on the radio. Quit your bitching, its either worth it for you to go to the game or its not.

      1. BetterNews

        LoL! That’s right. Nobody’s twisting arms here. If you don’t like the ticket prices, don’t go.

      2. Levo

        I pay for games. The point of the matter is…..the team is in need to save money. I think that there should be some kick back. All teams need to pay for a variation of things. The new player information board in right field (marketing money) plus saving on players and developing new talent=savings. I bitch cause it’s the truth. Point is…why do tickets keep going up when they are trying to save money? I went to the Wood foundation event. I have the money…..I want the quality on the field for the money i’m paying.

        1. BetterNews

          Kickbacks are illegal whether for the team or fan!

          1. Levo

            I’m not saying give money. You are avoiding what I am even talking about. Yes, I enjoy the game, yes, I enjoy Wrigley. If I go to a game, I have no intention on sitting in the upper deck. But why are ticket prices continually rising? If they are trying to save money and get rid of bad contracts, I would at leat hope that they would freeze prices. If you can remember….due to the spike in prices, there were plenty of empty seats throughout last year. More than I’ve seen in some time.

  24. JasonB

    He looks like Darwin Barney with patience and slightly more pop. I know, the audacity of me suggesting that a player could be as good as Darwin Barney. But for you Barney lovers, he’s probably not as scrappy.

    Not sure about his defense so it’s still possible Barney could be the better option. But Cardenas has a better bat.

    1. Kyle

      His defense is considered poor at 2b. That’s the problem.

      If his defense at 2b was even average, Cardenas’ bat would be a borderline starter in MLB at 2b. He wouldn’t be waiver bait at all.

      All the scouting reports I’ve read describe his range as poor at pretty much every defensive position. “Fringey” is a word used a lot to describe his defense.

      Doing some very quick and dirty calculations, I’d project Cardenas to be about two runs below average offensively for a 2b and anywhere from -5 to -10 defensively. Not sure about his baserunning.

      Barney projects to about 6 runs above average defensively. The big question with him, of course, is his offense. Last year, it was about 5 runs below average for a 2b (not nearly as bad as some people think, but that’s another discussion that we’ve had several times this offseason already). If he can repeat that, he’s clearly a better option than Cardenas. But looking at his minor league history, there’s a real chance Barney collapses into something like 250/280/310, at which point he’s more like -10 offensively and you have to go with a guy like Cardenas.

      Although really, in that situation I think I’d rather have Jeff Baker or make a trade.

      1. CubFan Paul

        cardenas is a .740ish OPS player easy/almost a hundred points higher than what barney will be. bad defense or not, cardenas is the better option to start

        1. Kyle

          A .740 OPS for Cardenas is extremely, extremely optimistic.

          His AAA numbers translate to a major league equivalent of the following:

          2010: 226/276/281
          2011: 271/318/353

          The old PCL is fooling some people again on Cardenas. He’s a very marginal hitter. I think 280/320/360 would be a very, very generous projection in the majors. And that’s with bad defense.

          1. CubFan Paul

            Fine. he’ll make a wonderful platoon partner/24th man. i’m trying to see light at the end of the tunnel at 2B ..we should have a AA/AAA “candidate of the future” after this season to talk about this time next year ..my money is r.torreyes, if he gets to AA

            1. Luke

              Logan Watkins should get the first crack at it. He’ll be in Tennessee this season. Zeke DeVoss (if he can stick at second, and I really hope he can) is probably next in line. College hitters tend to shoot through the lower minors fairly quickly, so I think he’ll pass Torreyes by the end of the year and could finish as high as Tennessee. Torreyes is likely third in line to get a chance to take they everyday job at second.

              I feel like I should throw Matt Cerda in there too, just for his bat, but he really doesn’t have a defensive position. If Cerda gets a shot at second, it would probably be after DeVoss and before Torreyes.

              Those time tables are based purely on when I expect those players to reach the majors and have nothing to with how good the player can be. I am not saying that Cerda is a better prospect than Torreyes or anything of that nature.

              One of those guys should hold the position long term. I think DeVoss is the most likely but I can make a case for any of them.

        2. BetterNews

          B.S.!

  25. cubsin

    Cheryl asked if we had any 2B prospects, other than Lake. Lake won’t be a 2B, and our two best prospects there are Torreyes and Zeke DeVoss, both of whom played A ball last year. Barney may be there for a while.

    Cardenas has a better bat, but Barney has a much better glove.

    1. Cheryl

      Then, it sounds like they’ll go the trade route.

  26. daveyrosello

    re: the 2B discussion–I would like to get Christian Colon away from the Royals, he’ll be in AAA this year. KC desperately needs starting pitchers. Randy Wells? KC also could use a utility IF, so maybe that is a potential trade target for DeWitt. I’m just angling ways to try and snag Colon, I like his game, the Cubs could use him.

  27. truebluecubbie

    I don’t hate this move. DeWitt was nothing special when he was with the Dodgers and even less so when he came to the Cubs. At this point I would have DFA’d him for a pack of gum and some red hots.

  28. njriv

    I wouldn’t mind if Barney and Cardenas platooned. Since Cardenas bats left handed he would be getting more playing time over Barney, isn’t that more or less what we wanted? Even though Cardenas has not really proven himself yet, he is only 24 and we already knew Dewitt was not going to be the answer there.

  29. Chicago Cubs DFA Blake DeWitt (Again) to Make Room for Travis Wood | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    [...] the Cubs designated Blake DeWitt for assignment (again – he was DFA’d in February to make room for Adrian Cardenas) to make room for Travis Wood, who’s filling in for Matt [...]

  30. Flus.us » Blog Archive » Flu Bug Forces Cubs’ Roster Move » Flus.us

    [...] game, Wood was returned to Triple-A in favor of rookie infielder Adrian Cardenas, who was claimed off waivers from the Oakland A’s prior to the start of spring training. The guy that was waived to make [...]