As expected, Adrian Cardenas will be the guy shipped off the 25-man roster to make room for Anthony Rizzo’s arrival today. I’m sure it’s a downer for Cardenas, but, looking over the roster, and given the ability to option Cardenas to Iowa without risking losing him, it’s the right move.

Cardenas, 24, leaves his first big league stint with an ugly 189/.231/.324 (some of that was bad luck – he had a .241 BABIP, whereas his career minor league number is closer to .320), and without much of a chance to have establish himself. Cardenas was called on May 7 up from AAA, where he was killing the ball (Rizzo famously called Cardenas the best hitter on the team), and drew just six starts in the following month and a half. I’m really not sure why he didn’t get a look at third base when Ian Stewart went down, but I can understand him not seeing much time at second – Darwin Barney played quite well over that month and a half (and was hitting righties better than lefties).

Cardenas will now get regular at bats at AAA, and we’ll probably see him again later this year. Long-term, given his age, Cardenas still has some time to get another shot to establish himself in the big leagues, at least as a utility player.

I have to believe, given the positional equivalencies, the Cubs probably would have preferred to have moved Jeff Baker. But, if you hope to get *any* value in trade for a bench guy like Baker, you can’t trade him when everyone knows you’re very much trying to trade him (especially in June). So, Cardenas had options, and he got optioned.

  • Luke

    Given that Sveum was almost Quade-like in his complete unwillingness to let Cardenas play, the kid might be better off being traded.

    I absolutely hate it when a team calls up a player who had been doing well in the minors and has him do virtually nothing but sit around and occasionally pinch hit.  If he’s not wanted in the majors, don’t call him up.

    • Fishin Phil

      What Luke said!

      We have plenty of veterans who are perfectly capable sitting their butts on a bench, no need to bring kids up to do that.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I agree with you, but who else were they going to call up? There doesn’t seem to be anyone ready. Rizzo wasn’t going to be called up, Jackson & Vitters aren’t ready. Sappelt would have rode the bench as well. I don’t think anyone would have guessed that Barney would have played as well as he is. If Barney doesn’t do as well I bet Cardenas would have gotten more starts. The part that really gets me thinking is they didn’t try him out at 3rd.

      Edit: I guess there was always DeWitt. (I think I just threw up a little).

      • Brett

        Could’ve been Valbuena at the time.

        • Cubbie Blues

          True. We will never know if Valbuena would have gotten the PT or not now though. My guess is there was something they didn’t like seeing when Cardenas came up and instead of sending him right back down they kept him on the bench. Or, (conspiracy theory time) did he perhaps violate a new Theo rule and was being punished?

        • Luke

          Or Amezaga.

          Even better, Sveum could actually have played him.  I think he could have started two or three times a week between left, second , and third.  If nothing else, his starts at second could have been used to rest Starlin Castro by letting Barney take over short.

          • hansman1982

            hell, even DeWitt – if you are only going to give the guy 50-60 AB’s over a month and a half, might as well make it a guy who isn’t going to be harmed in any way by it

            • Melrosepad

              Not even that amount. Cardenas had 37 ABs in 25 games. Valbuena already has 36 ABs in 11 games.

  • BluBlud

    Just heard that Volstad and Rusin are being considered for tomorrow start instead of Wells. Luke or Brett, what’s the chance its Rusin.

    • Brett

      It won’t be Volstad, as he just pitched on Saturday. Doubt Rusin would be added to the 40-man just to fill-in.

      Also, it’s today, not tomorrow. Barring some crazy turn of events, it will be Wells. Where are you hearing it won’t be?

      • BluBlud

        If you go to Volstads ESPN’S player page, its in the comment section.

        • Cubbie Blues

          You answered your own question by using ESPN as a source.

          • Leroy K.


        • Luke

          Like Brett said, Rusin isnt on the 40 man and just pitched.  I suppose Volstad is theoretically possible, but if that were going to happen I think they’d have brought him to Chicago with Rizzo yesterday.

          • BluBlud

            From ESPN: News: Volstad is being considered for Wednesday’s start, along with Randy Wells and Chris Rusin, the Arlington Daily Herald reports. (Fri Jun 22)

            • Luke

              Well, I suppose Rusin and Vostad could be under consideration for Wednesday, but unless the Arlington Daily Herald thinks Wells is going to start two consecutive games, I think he can be ruled out.

            • Brett

              That’s old – Sveum originally said he was considering other guys (on that Friday), but subsequently ruled it out.

  • Idaho Razorback

    C’mon Luke. Give me the minor league coverage so I can give you my notes on Boise last nite. Hint: UGLY.

    • Brett

      The delay isn’t Luke’s – it’s mine.

      • Ron

        WTF…I can’t brush my teeth without this!

        • Brett

          I guess I should say, technically, the delay was thanks to the Cubs’ strange decision to announce after the game last night (at like 11:30 ET) that Cardenas would be going down.

          • Luke

            To be fair, at 8:32 when Brett first replied, I think my draft had been finished and handed over to him for all of ten minutes.  Now that I have two Mountain Time teams to cover, I generally don’t finish up the Boise and Arizona sections until the morning.

            • baldtaxguy

              Definately worth the extra wait, thanks!

            • Brett

              And it’s always still quite prompt (I’m not sure how you do it). It’s just a compliment that folks are dying for the post to arrive in the morning.

  • EB

    Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that the Nationals were looking for a corner infielder to replace Mark DeRosa. Jeff Baker for Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper sounds like a pretty fair trade to me. What do you guys think?

    • BluBlud


      • Brett

        There’s a chance – just a chance – that EB was kidding.

        • BluBlud

          Yeah, I know. They would never make that deal. They would hold out in hopes that the Cubs would throw Reed Johnson in. At that point, there is no way the Nats could turn that down.

  • Cubs44

    Cardenas got the shaft from Sveum, lets all remember that the manager said when he was hired that everybody would get a chance, seems Sveum has forgot that along with many other things ! Sveum is not major league ready either !

    • Luke

      Let’s not turn one guy into a giant failing on Sveum’s part.  He has done a nice job using younger players like Clevenger, Valbuena, Campana, Dolis, Camp, and so on.  Cardenas is a very definite exception to the rule, not the personification of it.

      • ryan

        Camp = old

      • hansman1982

        agree, and even the best managers in the universes will have Quade-esque moments. All-in-all (barring his reluctance to use scrub relievers when up big late) I think Sveum has done an acceptable job.

  • ichabod

    i agree with the whole bring young player up while rred hot in aaa and play him. baseball is a streaky business. you play whos hot. thats how you win. on this miserable team what difference would it make if you played a youngster over a vet. give these kids a chance and lets see what they can do already. watching a bad team full of vets is way worse than watching prospects just trying hard as hell to impress. its another rooting option. put the kids to work

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I have been saying all along that we need to get rid of guys like Baker and Johnson neither do I much care for. Baker doesn’t play any position well enough to be a long term or medium range fill in at any position. Johnson is just taking up a roster spot and provides nothing IMO. Cardenas can play the OF if needed. He should have received playing time over Johnson. I know fans like Johnson but I never see that guy get a hit. And he looks terrible striking out with that long swing.

    • Drew7

      I’ll take .279/.340/.411 from a 4th/5th outfielder all day long, especially on a team with 3 LH outfielders. Who else do you want to see out there?

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Valbuena has at least played very respectably on defense at 3B and he has hit much better than Stewart. IMO he has been an upgrade at 3B offensively and no worse defensively.

    • Drew7

      He is neither an upgrade defensively or offensively.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Brett likes Rusin or at least he has commented favorably on him several times. How long does he have to sit at AAA before he gets a shot. We bring up guys over and over who just don’t have things going in the right direction. My problem is we don’t have much in the way of bullpen arms that throw strikes. It seems that every guy we bring up from AAA issues a ton of walks. Some of them are bullpen guys at AAA so they can’t use the excuse about going from a starting job to a bullpen job. I would like to see better discipline and control from these guys coming up. How are they being groomed/coached up at AAA. They are just throwers and not pitchers. I guess that’s what you get when you have developed any pitching in a while.

    • Brett

      Just to be clear – I’m not all that high on Rusin.

    • Norm

      If it were that easy to teach pitchers better control….

      • Edwin

        My favorite is the:

        “Greg Maddux could do it, so just tell pitchers to be more like Greg Maddux”.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          I always tell grad students to be more like Einstein.  Same thing, really…..

  • MightyBear

    Also, I disagree that it’s a detriment to a kid to come up and sit. He gets instruction from big league coaches, he gets to observe big league players and he gets a taste of what it’s like to play in the majors. It’s definitely motivation to work hard in the minors to get back there. They can’t play everyone.

    • Brett

      MB is quite right that there are advantages to being in the bigs, even if you’re sitting. But I’m not sure it’s *better* for development than playing every day at AAA.

      (The players certainly like it, though, because they make 10x as much in the bigs as they do in the minors.)

  • CBP

    So excited for the young Rizzo

  • #1lahairfan

    I wish Cardenas would have gotten the third base job.