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Well, it sounds like my wacky guess on today’s roster move is going to prove correct.

Today 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 Garza.

I said this morning that this kind of move could happen as a precursor to Adrian Cardenas – one of the hottest hitters at AAA – coming up to the big club. Part one has happened, and I’d expect part two to happen whenever Wood goes back down. In that way, Cardenas, 24, would have bumped DeWitt twice (though Dale Sveum’s affection for DeWitt brought him back the first time – I don’t think that will happen now). The Cubs aren’t going to stay with 13 pitchers for long, so a position player will come up later this week (as soon as tomorrow), and I think it’ll be Cardenas. Luis Valbuena is the most obvious other option.

The Cubs will have 10 days to release, trade, or waive DeWitt. Given that he was just DFA’d a month ago, I think we’ve seen the last of Blake DeWitt as a member of the Chicago Cubs’ organization. If he is not traded and is instead waived, and clears waivers, DeWitt may not be willing to once again accept a minor league assignment from the Cubs. He could elect free agency and try to latch on somewhere else. Would DeWitt clear waivers? Eh. He did last month, and I’m not sure his performance or a rash of infield injuries around baseball are going to change the outcome this time around.

It would be ideal if the Cubs could swing a trade and pick up a little bit of cost savings – they owe DeWitt $1.1 million this year. They aren’t going to get much in the way of a prospect for him. If DeWitt clears waivers and refuses an assignment, he loses that guaranteed money, but he’s already pocketed about 1/6 of it, and, assuming another team signs him, he’ll get a prorated portion of the minimum for the rest of the year. He’d lose a couple hundred thousand dollars, but sometimes pride gets in the way.

Carrie Muskat says the Cubs are planning to waive DeWitt, and hope he’ll clear and accept an assignment to AAA. I just don’t see it happening twice in a couple months.

  • tim815

    If he elects free agency, he loses his guaranteed money, no? That was the case the first time.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes, but he’s already pocketed 1/6 of it. I just sense pride is going to step in at some point. He’ll still get the prorated minimum from another team ($500k), so he only loses a couple/few hundred grand.

      • Joe

        1/6 of 1.1 mill ain’t that much. DeWitt isn’t coasting on multiple millions from previous contracts, is he? So I don’t see why he’d pass up AAA, unless he was certain he could land a starting job somewhere else. That’s way too many greenbacks to ignore, Brett. I’m surprised by your assessment, honestly.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Sorry Blake, but it’s about time.

    • Fishin Phil

      I’m not going to even pretend I’m sorry. I have been massively unimpressed with him since he arrived in town.

  • tim815

    Assuming he would get it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, and that’s probably not a 100% fair assumption. I softened the language in the post a bit to leave open the chance that DeWitt thinks no team would sign him to a big-league deal (which could definitely be the case).

  • die hard

    Cardenas to SS then?…would make sense…or him to 2B and Barney to SS…Castro to CF, Mather/Campana LF and release/waive/trade Soriano

    • Njriv

      No

    • Blitzenjohn

      Castro to 2B isn’t a bad option… Sandberg did ok after his move. :P

    • Joe

      There is effectively zero reason to move Castro right now. Until we have a true, major prospect pushing him at SS, it’s not happening.

      • Blitzenjohn

        But, Cardenas would be a defensive upgrade at SS, and Castro’s E’s fewer at 2B, it would seem… can’t think the FO isn’t debating this scenario…

        • Joe

          I’m sure it’s up for discussion, but I don’t see sufficient reason ATM. Where do you get the idea that Castro would have fewer errors at second? It’s a logical conclusion, but your word choice suggests he’s played at second and shown superior defensive skills there. I had not heard of this…

          • Blitzenjohn

            There is very little difference between SS and 2B, except footwork and cover responsibilities. I had been using Ryno as an example of how such a move to 2B could benefit Castro and the Cubs, with the shorter throws to 1B. Castro at 2B and Cardenas at SS might be a defensive upgrade, which would give Barney a chance to be one of the better UT’s in the game. Footwork is the key…

            • Blitzenjohn

              And Ryno did kinda OK at 2B, I think…

              • cubfanincardinalland

                Why is everybody always trying to move Castro off of short. The young man has been playing the postition just fine as of late. He will be a gold glover there someday. Do you have any idea what an advantage it is to have a hitter of his caliber at shortstop? Give it up people.

                • Jim

                  Agree with you, cubfan.

        • drew

          False…If Barney hasnt moved over there, Cardenas certainly wouldnt

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Cardenas would not be a defensive upgrade at any position on the diamond, shortstop least of all.

          • Njriv

            I agree, he would only be up for offensive purposes, Castro is only 22! Give him about about 3-4 years before we starting talking about a position change!

          • art

            is that why they only talk about his hitting? read where 2B was the only spot they could fine for him.

    • Josh Z

      No way! Castro is not moving to CF. We already have a future CF in Brett Jackson

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, it’s also part of the weird fantasy held by some that Castro is and will always be an even worse fielding shortstop than Derek Jeter is/was.  With his excellent range and strong arm, Castro could easily become a real gold-glover in the next couple of years; moreover, his tremendous offensive value as a SS takes a huge hit if you move him to CF.

  • Spencer

    Im confused about how a position player can come up tomorrow. that requires another roster move, yes?

    • Another Eric

      Wood gets sent down after making his start–I think Brett tweeted about this just a little bit ago…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That would be my guess – no need to keep Wood up for more than a day if Garza’s going to be ready to go next time around (and assuming no one else is getting the boot (like Volstad (sorry, Spencer))).

      • Spencer

        sigh. it would be unfair for the FO to give up on Volstad after only the first week of May. But at some point you’ve gotta start seeing results. I’m looking forward to seeing Cardenas, if that is indeed the route they go!

        • Joe

          I remember the line on Volstad was that there was a lot of potential there. Don’t you let potential keep working, even if it struggles, when you’re in a rebuilding year? Worse case scenario, what are his/the Cubs’ options when it comes to sending the Act down to the minors?

      • cubmig

        Volstad is an interesting question: How long is he going to be given the chance done to show he can get beyond his rocky starts? So far he’s given up too many runs early in the games he’s pitched, and put the shaky offense on the defensive. He hasn’t well. Sveum, Theo&Co need to see what they can get for him.

    • Jay Anderson Jr

      You can send wood back to the minors, making room for Cardenas, or you can do something Wacky like DFA Marmol, hoping somebody takes Him.

      • tim815

        That’s at least an interesting thought.

  • tim815

    After a guy has been farmed out, he doesn’t burn any more options getting sent back down numerous times. It’s routinely used, and the AAA shuttle is a wise, effective utilization of resources.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yes. And you might as well use it: Guys are actually already using an option year any time they’re on the 40-man roster and don’t spend the entire year in the bigs (essentially).

      Was your comment in response to something in particular? Just responding to the concept of shuffling Wood up and down?

  • TonyP

    See ya Blake,  best of luck.  Glad to see you go though.

    • tim815

      Iowa’s nice this time of year.

  • Bric

    Another Hendry player being shown the door. Never had a problem with DeWitt but happy to see the transition continue.

    It’s funny you mention pride because that’s the one thing that always bothered me about Hendry. He would often go out and pick up former high round picks (Thomas Diamond, Richard Lewis, DeWitt, Murton) from other teams and hope that a change of scenery would
    do them good. The problem is he would refuse to see or act on the simple fact that these other teams were dumping these players for a reason and because of his pride these guys would get way more chances to succeed than they probably deserved.

    The same thing can be said for his irrational attachment to veterans such as Z, Bradley, Byrd, and even Soto and Marmol. he had the chance to move both last July and chose to move neither- although by then it might not have been completely his choice.

    Regardless, no ill feelings toward De Witt but it’s a good sign to see the continued moving of the Hendry long shots out.

    • tim815

      To be honest, picking up Dempster worked out fairly well.

      • Bric

        That’s true, and Hendry made few good trades and signings. But even though I’m overly critical of Hendry the one thing that still sticks out is why all of our first round failures (Montenez, Pawalek, Harvey, Simpson- too soon?) would be quietly waived for nothing yet he never seemed to have a problem taking someone else’s.

        It’s like the saying goes- when you’re playing cards and you can’t figure out who the sucker at the table is, then it’s probably you.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Every team does this. Theo and Jed have done this a bit in their short time with the Cubs. Not just a Hendry practice. That is how the Rangers ended up with Josh Hamilton.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    Brett, quick question. I started an account, and it will not let me log in from my phone, is there a reason? And 2nd, how do I upload a pic?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      On the first one, there should be no reason. Name/password works on phone, computer, whatever. On the second, you can’t upload pictures (safety precaution), you have to use the link to the picture to post them (using the image button). Click the button, enter the URL for the picture, and there you go.

  • Ivy Walls

    A couple hundred grand is a big deal when a player the caliber of DeWitt is involved, as he definitely was the 13th position player on a last place roster during a rebuild. That said the pressure point is not on DeWitt right now but on Tampa and SF who lost 3B for an extended period of time. DeWitt is in the rent an utility player arena and teams could pick him up for 6-8 weeks and then decide to either waive him or not even if they take his contract in that if he decides not to go to AAA and go FA their risk is the same as the Cubs.

    DeWitt financially has little choice, if no one picks him up he goes to AAA.

  • Ivy Walls

    Next question looking forward, who now is on the 13th position player bubble?

    After the nine including two catchers; there are the following; RJohnson & Campana in the OF, and Mather (AKA the Beaver) and Baker at the IF/OF, (redundant) where then Cardenas is the new IF utility man.

    I say it is between Baker and RJohnson (where it seems that both might not be wearing Cubbie Blue in August anyway).

    Then the harder question is if LaHair continues to hit above .950 OPS and Rizzo is hitting at above .950 OPS in AAA and you decide to try to hide LaHair in LF replacing another defensive “hide-er” who goes?

    • Joe

      Baker, they’ll try to get value out of. Ditto for Reed, if it’s a question/option. Campy and Mather can go back to AAA, I believe, so there’s another option if you want to get a look at somebody else.

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  • Big Joe

    And Jimbo isn’t the only one collecting other team’s castoffs. Theo has went that route already…

    • Bric

      That’s true. But Theo’s already shown he has no problem moving questionable draft choices of Hendry’s (like Colvin). Now it remains to be seen how he’ll react to the players he himself has aquired that may not pan out (like DeJesus and Stewart).

  • Dustin S

    During the storm Thursday night, lightning managed to find my satellite dish and fried things pretty well. That put tv at our house out of commission for a few days until the technician can come out and fix things. By itself that sucks, and worse yet it’s had me Cubbie game-less. Until then I’ll just have to root them on virtually…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That sucks! I would be a wreck without TV, and even worse without the Cubs.

  • Cubs1967

    let’s all remember that dewitt was part of the lilly trade; and i believe the other minor leaguers are no longer around either; yet 35 plus lilly is for the dodgers. glad to see dewitt go as time or cardenas to be given a chance at 2nd, but sad that a good trade chip like lilly brought back zilch. (kinda like the marshall trade……….maybe someone should check for mold at the wrigley GM offices…….’cuz all the GMs of the cubs have their brain go to mush).

    • BT

      I don’t know, maybe we should wait more than a month before declaring the Marshall trade a bust? Especially since one of the prospects we got back has less than 100 at bats in A ball? Just a thought.

      • Kyle

        The trade was a wild success. People are impatient.

      • drew

        Dont bother, youre just risking being called “stoopid”.

    • JustSwain

      So since Wood pitched well today that is proof that the Marshall trade was awesome right?

  • Eric

    Wouldn’t mind Cardenas getting a shot to bump Barney to a sub player. Cardenas is another 1st round pick that hadn’t panned out. He’s been hitting incredibly well at Iowa, if he can play a respectable 2B our offense could be greatly improved. Slowly but surely Epstein is making this his team.

  • mark

    If you check the splits, Cardenas is easily the most complete hitter at Iowa–as Rizzo said last week. If they bring him up, I hafta believe it will be to give him a shot at Barney’s starting job.

    Apparently Jackson’s biggest problem is hitting righthanders (.203). Until he makes progress there, I think he stays in Iowa. Too bad, because the Cubs’ OF is far from set at this point.

    • drew

      The service time is whats gonna keep Jackson there. The splits w righties are a result of a small sample size; if he truly had problems hitting RHP as a lefty, he wouldnt be the prospect he is.

      • Kyle

        It’s really not just service time. Jackson is still plenty challenged by AAA pitchers and has something to learn down there.

        • drew

          Its gonna be the main issue. That is, he wont be up until thats taken care of, regardless of performance.

          Edit: meant to add that it important to remember Jackson has already shown a decent amount of success at AAA, posting a .939 OPS in 215 PA’s last season. A few more weeks should tell us whether that was just a flukey-hot start or not.

  • mark

    Here are Jackson’s splits:

    vs Left .387 31
    vs Right .210 81

    That’s not such a small sample, but for my own information–when does a sample cease to be small? It looks to me like AAA pitchers have learned something about Jackson and he needs to show he can adjust.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      The sample size is no longer “small” when the binomial error bars cease to overlap.  That is a product both of N and the difference in Rate 1 & Rate 2: the closer the latter two are, then the bigger N has to be.

      • college_of_coaches

        Hey Doc, is this going to be on the final exam?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Final?  Hell, it should be on the entry exam……  8)

          But here is a relatively simple equation for assessing significance, looking at righty vs. lefty splits, with R= righty, L=Lefty, H=HIts, O=Outs, BAo=Overall Batting average, BAl=Batting average against lefties, BAr=Batting average against righties:

          (RH*ln[BAr])*(RO*ln[1-BAr])*(LH*ln[BAl])*(LO*ln[1-BAl]) – (RH*ln[BAo])*(RO*ln[1-BAo])*(LH*ln[BAo])*(LO*ln[1-BAo])

          This tests a “complex hypothesis” of Br≠Bl vs. a “simple” hypothesis of Br=Bl=Bo.  Just by chance alone, the 2X the equation above has a chi-square distribution with 1 degree of freedom.  (The proof for this is similar to the one relating the Chi-Square distribution to the normal distribution.)  So, there is a 1:20 chance that this will be 2 or more if the null hypothesis (BJax against righties is the same as BJax against lefties) is true.

          The key here is that as N (=RH+RO+LH+LO= AB) gets bigger, smaller and smaller differences between BAr & BAl will become significant.

    • drew

      81 PA’s is a small sample. In the PCL, id imagine hes averaging 5 per game, giving us yhe equivelent of 16 full games, or 2 1/2 weeks.

      Im not trying to be a jerk, just explaining my thought process- if LaHair hits. 210 ovet his next 16 games, are you gonna say he’s lost it? I know I wouldnt.

      Now, I know Lahair has had success to start the year, but its no different than the 215 PA’s Jackson had in AAA last year when he ripped the cover off the ball.

  • DCF

    81PAs definetly is definitely a small sample and even worse, the 31 PA vs. lefties is even less of a sample. To have a quantifiable idea about the lefty/righty spilts of a hitter you’d need at least a full season. Even then results are rather shaky more often than not, as batters ofter gather oas little as 100-150 PA vs. lefties during the season.
    That being said, of course you can try to reason about the existence of a big or maybe not so big split if you a) take the acutal numbers with a bin grain of salt and b) put the numbers into context, i.e. by checking how they compare to the career splits.

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