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ian stewart cubsIf you followed Ian Stewart on Twitter, he seemed, at times, to be an odd bird. Recently, he went on an over-the-top rant against the Rockies’ organization for DFA’ing (and ultimately trading to the Yankees) third baseman Chris Nelson, the man who took Stewart’s job after the Rockies dealt him to the Cubs. It seems Stewart still harbors some ill feelings about being cast aside by the Rockies, and wishes he’d been given a chance to show what he could do there, if the Rockies were just going to dump Nelson anyway.

Maybe that’s an understandable position, but probably not one you should be espousing publicly given that you’re currently cashing checks from a team that hopes you can work your way back to the big leagues once healthy and effective.

But that day might not be coming, and the oddness of the Ian Stewart story continues to grow.

After some conflicting reports this weekend, it now seems clear that Ian Stewart simply decided not to play baseball over the past three days. When the Cubs activated him from the disabled list and optioned him to Iowa on Friday, Stewart had 72 hours to report to Iowa. Since he was already there, and since there was no question he was going to accept the assignment (he would lose his guaranteed contract if he didn’t), you would have expected him to play the next day as though no transaction occurred. The move was perfunctory, after all, and it’s not like he needed 72 hours to relocate.

According to GM Jed Hoyer, however, and per Jesse Rogers, Stewart decided to take the 72 hours the CBA granted him. He took that time and didn’t play. It was a kind of … break? Vacation? It’s unclear. Rogers lays into Stewart pretty good.

“We had a lot of discussions with him about it, in the end that was the decision,” Hoyer said of Stewart not playing for Iowa this weekend. “He has the right, it’s the given right the players have and that was the decision.”

Let me make sure I understand this correctly.

We’re talking about a player who was new to the Cubs in 2012 after being on the verge of a non-tender by the Rockies. His debut season with the Cubs ended after just 55 games with ongoing wrist problems that the Cubs helped Stewart fully explore and have surgically addressed (after the issue was missed in Stewart’s time with the Rockies). Before, during, and after that surgery, Stewart elected to rehab at home, rather than stay with the team, as many injured players do (for example, Matt Garza couldn’t tear himself off of the top step even after everyone knew his season was over with weeks yet to be played). He did have a child in that time period, so at least there is some explanation. Other writers, however, have intimated that the Cubs questioned Stewart’s commitment at that time.

They must not have questioned it completely, however, because the Cubs then gave Stewart $2 million for 2013, a season in which he could prove that he was finally healthy, and eager to show what he could do. You’d think he might have even been eager to repay the Cubs’ good graces, but I don’t want to read too much into things. Then, in the first intrasquad game before the Cactus League began, Stewart strained his quad. That strain kept him out for more than a month, at which time he was rehabbing at AAA Iowa. He wasn’t hitting, but presumably wanted to work hard to show the Cubs that he could be ready to contribute soon.

And then, when it became clear that he wasn’t going to be ready by the time his rehab stint was up, Stewart … took a three-day break? Because the CBA permitted it?

Now, I don’t know Ian Stewart from Adam. I’ve never (really) spoken with him, and I don’t presume to sit in judgment from hundreds of miles away. But when you consider that timeline, this latest episode, and what you could glean from his late-night Twitter proclivities (before he abruptly deleted his account last week, that is), you get the picture of a young man who may have some maturity issues and who may not be all that into playing baseball for the Chicago Cubs.

It’s unfortunate, but there’s no longer any reason for much optimism about Stewart’s future, at least with the Cubs. When the performance isn’t there and the health is in question, all you can hang your hat on is effort and attitude. Right now, Stewart doesn’t appear to be showing much in that regard.

I’d like to hear his explanation for avoiding baseball this weekend when he returns to the Iowa Cubs today, as he is expected to do.

  • JulioZuleta

    You should meet Adam, he’s a good guy.

  • RY

    maybe we get lucky and he retires!

    • Jp3

      Not a chance, he’d miss out on an opportunity to steal more money with the cubs. I’m starting to think the Cubs should promote him, put him at the end of the bench wearing an orange jump suit, with a ski mask and carrying an oozie water gun. Maybe make him the most expensive bat boy in the history of baseball because its apparent he can’t hit anywhere.

      • RY

        Love it!

  • Cyranojoe

    For me, when I’m given an opportunity to take a break from work, I do it.

    That said, given the context of Ian’s performance so far… yeah, it’s ugly.

    Reminds you of another Chicago athlete cleared to play quite some time ago, but in his case Rose isn’t even going out onto the field/court at all. So I guess it could be worse, eh?

    • Whiteflag

      Totally different.

  • deej34

    Brett – Did Stewart take his twitter account down? Or am I just not smart enough to find it?

    • KidCubbie

      It says in Bretts write up that Stewart took his account down.

    • Rcleven

      Been following for a year now. Would post quite a bit in the wee hours.
      Haven’t seen a thing from him since the Rockies rant.

  • Spencer

    Well, the I-Cubs were rained out Friday and Saturday, right? So he couldn’t play those days. But he could’ve played the double header on Sunday.

  • TWC

    “I don’t presume to sit in judgment from hundreds of miles away.”

    Yeah. I have no such hesitation. Ian Stewart is a jackass.

    • willis

      Ding ding ding!

      • Koyie Hill Sucks

        and he sucks at baseball…

        • On the Farm

          You make way too much sense

    • Rcleven

      We don’t know the conversation Stewart had with Hoyer.
      For all we know Hoyer told him we don’t need you any more and were looking for a trade.

      • Kyle

        Hoyer’s comments this weekend indicated that he talked with Stewart “at length” about the decision and did not agree with it.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    It is what it is. He always had that ballplayer cool down perfect. He’s a loser, a goofball. Theo and Jed seem to have a hard time accepting their mistakes(which every team makes) and rectifying them. Why would you want someone like this around your young players. And your going to take valuable playing time away from Josh Vitters, who is raking, to put this prima donna on the field?

    • willis

      Yep. There’s a reason that talent has never translated to shit on the field. But anyone who is one of “their (Theo and Jed) guys will get chance after chance because they won’t accept mistakes and try to save face on everything. The trade, at the time, was a risk with a needed reward, but after a year of bullshit, why stand for it again and waste all that money? Because they cannot accept that they were wrong.

      The bigger point is the guy rubbing off on younger guys who look up to him because he’s been at the major league level. Not something organization needs. Reason # 5 billion the “cubs way” is bullcrap.

    • hansman1982

      “Theo and Jed seem to have a hard time accepting their mistakes(which every team makes) and rectifying them.”

      At least, on this one, Theo and Jed have already admitted it’s a mistake. We did keep Valbuena on the roster so I’d say Theo and Jed have worked to correct this mistake.

    • JB88

      Meh. Stewart is and for this year will be a fairly cheap lottery ticket. If he returned to form and played above average defense and hit double digit HRs at 3rd base, the investment would be exceedingly cheap.

      Plus, to ape hansman, they have brought in a variety of other 3B so it is hard to suggest that they were exactly banking on Stewart and not “accepting their mistakes … and rectifying them.”

      • Cubbie Blues

        Eh, I would say he is more like a lottery ticket you found in your car that is expired, but it doesn’t matter because you didn’t win anyway. The FO missed out being able to cut him in Spring Training do to the quad injury that he milked into $2 Million dollars.

      • Kyle

        The “lottery ticket” metaphor always kind of amuses me, because lottery tickets are bad investments. They have a negative expected value from the moment you buy them.

        So in Stewart’s case, it’s apt.

        • willis

          Exactly. Good point.

          Knowing that he knows that he sucks at baseball, you wonder if he injured himself on purpose, knowing he couldn’t be cut then?

          I’m kidding…kind of.

  • Indy57

    This is a guy I had hoped would have a rebound season. From the sound of the statements (his and others) and his actions, seems like he is a head-case. At .041, you’d think the guy would be putting in overtime. He needs to stop pouting and get to work. Either get busy living or get busy dying – to quote Morgan Freeman.

  • John

    As you have seen from my pic of him while in Memphis on my account @puttster71, he is a stand up guy to and for the fans. He does have small kids and I am sure he needed a break to clear his mind. After all, things haven’t been going well for him. Take a break and get refocused.

    • Cubbie Blues

      He took a break pretty much all last year and the off-season. Also, you don’t stay up until 2 AM when you have an afternoon game to play. Specially when you are sucking it up as bad as he has.

    • hansman1982

      John Axford has been sucking it up pretty hard after being one of the better closers in the game, yet I don’t see him pulling stunts like this.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Also, remember the quote last spring from a front office type of the Rockies, when the Cubs were liking what Stewart was doing in spring training. It was something like “the Cubs will find out soon enough.” Well, I think they found out what he was talking about.

  • Jp3

    “When the performance isn’t there and the health is in question, all you can hang your hat on is effort and attitude”. I’m not normally Mr Hindsight 20-20 but how us this statement any different then when we hadn’t signed him for $2mill yet? I hated tis signing then and even more now, didn’t think that it was possible

  • miggy80

    Not sure if it had anything to do with the situation, but it did snow in Des Moines Thursday and 6″ inches on Friday. Then rained all day Saturday the I-Cubs were postponed three days in a row. They did play a double hitter on Sunday.

    • hansman1982

      So what you are saying is he had his “mental break” from baseball prior to pulling this crap.

      • miggy80

        Or maybe I just needed to remind everybody that we got 6″ OF SNOW IN MAY!

  • Jon

    Ian Stwerart is a piece of shit human being and I wish him the worst in life.

    • TWC

      Well, that’s a little over the top, no?

      • Patrick W.

        Hey, it’s not like he suggested Stewart be marched to the pitcher’s mound, told to kn…..

        • DarthHater

          That’s reserved for Marmol.

        • TWC

          Heh.

  • EricR

    It’s not like baseball players are digging ditches. They’re playing a game. I would like to hear his side of it but on the surface, this doesn’t look good.

  • Dustin S

    I’m pretty firmly expecting very soon (maybe today) either a retirement announcement or for him to request to be released. If it’s just status quo and he shows up after 72 hours, phones in the effort, then he is just showing up for a check. I know he has read this site before, so Ian if you’re reading this…either put in 110% at Iowa and try to come back to prove the naysayers wrong, or do the honorable thing and move on to the next chapter.

    • jay

      He’s not leaving 2mil on the table, not when his career is basically over and the only reason he got that 2mil this year is because there was ZERO 3B out there in free agency. Minor league deal for peanuts with an invite to camp is all any team is going to give him next year and you can bet it won’t be the Cubs.

  • cb

    If he wanted time off with his kids, imo, he should have been up front and discussed it with his manager.

    IMO, this is AWOL and really makes you wonder about his work ethic.

    • Cubbie Blues

      It doesn’t make me wonder about his work ethic at all. I think we all know exactly what kind of work ethic he has.

    • JoeyCollins

      A little less AWOL and more like on leave. It reminds me of the guys at work who never answer their phone when off duty. Yes you are off. Yes you have no real obligation to answer. But a real team player answers his phone, and makes himself available, even when he doesn’t have to.

  • Jon

    Theo had Manny in Boston, so this is Chicago equivalent malcontent, only he’s just bad at baseball.

  • Holden

    I will give him the benefit of the doubt. We can all sit in here and talk about what we would do, but when you are expected yourself to finally solve the issues after the surgery, and this happens it must be pretty taxing mentally. Remember, most of you are the same people clamoring for Marmol to be put on the DL so that he can clear his mind. Send him on a rehab assignment. He doesn’t go directly to that assignment, he gets some time off for his head. This is the same thing. The guy just needed a mental break, in baseball the rules don’t allow that. That is why the game is one of the most mentally and physically taxing games. Maybe he didn’t take the time for the right reasons and was just showing a lack of dedication, but give him the benefit of the doubt. To the fans he has never been anything but awesome. No need in ripping him because a trade didn’t work out in our favor, he’s been hurt and unproductive, still no reason to attack him personally.

    • DarthHater

      Fool me once, shame on you.
      Fool me twice, shame on me.
      Fool me three times, I’m a f-ing idiot.

      • Jp3

        Yeah we were the punch lines on this one. The Rockies were laughing when we traded for this player made of glass and twigs…and then we RESIGNED him… In related news multiple Rockies front office executives died of massive heart attacks brought on by chronic laughter.

        • willis

          Haha…you’re right. Punch line to a bad joke. They didn’t get much, but they got some productivity and humans with a heartbeat for Stewart, damn right they are laughing.

          What a dick.

    • Cyranojoe

      Holden, I’d love to agree with you, but the trouble is that over the past two years our front office and coach have expressed disappointment in Stewart’s commitment to the team. Sure, that’s just one side of things, but then you’ve gotta be logical: where do you think someone is more likely to recover from an injury? At home by yourself or at the Cubs’ training facility with medical/physical therapy experts readily available?

      If he didn’t have a newborn kid, I’d have to admit I’d be all the way on the bandwagon of Stewart haters at this point. I’m certainly wondering what he thinks he’s doing.

  • Jason

    The guy has always been a substandard player. So who cares.

    • Jason

      Who cares about him, that is. Good article.

  • ProfessorCub

    I retweeted his tweets about the Rockies releasing Chris Nelson with a little quip about how it seemed crazy…and I thought, “of course there’s no way a professional athlete is going to notice or respond to this.” Well, he responded WITHIN 30 SECONDS with a defensive “how am I crazy?” response. Dude is obviously immature and lacks self-confidence.

  • Rich

    My gosh…I dont know him either, but I simply hope the Cubs simply cut him. I hope that 2 million is not guaranteed.

    Years ago…I lived in Cleveland and a player whom later was traded to the the Bulls…was “REHABING”….I always saw him outside washing his numerous cars and riding his ATV up and down the sidewalks. He avg. .8 points per game…but had a nice contract…

    I mean these athletes are professionals and should act as such…

    He was in Iowa..and decided to take the weekend off..Maybe his attitude IS preventing his ability to work as hard as possible and show his potential…

    This has to burn Theo and Co.

  • On the Farm

    The term “turd sandwich” comes to mind when I think about Ian Stewart

    • Seth

      I prefer “Giant Douche”.

  • The Dude Abides

    Let’s see how Theo & company handle this. How this plays out is more of a reflection on them than Stewart at this point. Do they cover this in their book on “The Cubs Way”?

    Seems like an easy call but we shall see…

    • Cyranojoe

      GREAT point about the Cubs Way!

  • Rich

    turd sandwich is perfect..

  • curt

    Ian Stewart you are the weakest link and should be ashamed to steal the cubs money while providing nothing in return, good day , goodbye and def good riddance .

  • Rich

    It is like one of these guys sitting around at bar drinking beer said I could have done this or been that but my coach ( or boss ) screwed me..

  • Dynastyin2017

    Payback is a bitch. If I were the Cubs, I’d have him play catcher as soon as he returns. See how he likes them apples.

  • Stevie B

    Maybe he just needed to clear his head and reflect?

    He is at a cross road…looking into the abyss. I have no issue with him taking a few days off.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    I was going to write into the podcast for your thoughts on this but it looks like you’ve beat me to the punch.

    I am eager to hear Stewart’s response to the weekend off – but as a fan, I must say my desire for him to return to the big leagues has shrunk to nearly non-existant.

    • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

      (and I’m one of those who was glad he was brought back for 2013)

      • pete

        Agreed, I would like to see his response. However, taking off the 72 hours strikes me as if he was a temp worker who got a 90 day extension tacked onto his original temp contract and then takes time off – sure he can do it, but why.

  • Tennessee Cub

    Also, with his struggles being what they are, this could be the best thing for him. Sometime we all need to take a step back, relax, and get back to work. I am sure he is upset with his performance and is pressing. If he starts raking nobody will think anything of his lil break. I hope he comes back and tears it up. Clear your mind Ian, relax, and have fun.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Or, you know. Just frack off. Either one would be good Ian (but pick #2).

      • Tennessee Cub

        That is a great attitude!!! let’s don’t hope he goes off, and we trade him for prospects. Instead, let’s hope he rots on the bench for the next 130 games. real mature

        • Jp3

          Nobody in the world, let alone front office excecs, would be dumb enough to trade for this guy… Oh wait we tr…

          • willis

            Yeah, the trade argument is a dead one. He won’t have any value any time soon, if ever as a ballplayer. Trading for him was a wish and a prayer that he could catch lightening in a bottle at a hole the team needed to fill. And they did so desperately. The results were as easy to predict as morning dumps are for men.

            I’d love nothing more for the kid to get his head together and play well, but he hasn’t, for years, and won’t.

            • Jp3

              Ha!!! Great analogy!😃 I say bring in Stewart to be in the front office, look how well he played the Cubs. He’s got an injury history going out the door and around the block, he still made a non guaranteed contract guaranteed!!!! He can be our guy to find loop holes in contracts when Theo/Jed think they have a player dead to rights in a contract…

        • Cubbie Blues

          I didn’t say anything about sitting on the bench. I want him to go away. You know, like his twitter account. It’s funny they call it an account because it sure to keep a good account of what he was doing at 2 AM the day before a game while trying to get back into the MLB. So, yeah, he can go sell cars for all I care.

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