View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



December 2011



Cubs Deal Tyler Colvin and Rule 5 Draft Results

Written by , Posted in General


Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu get traded to Colorado for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers – I’m not a fan of this deal. I still believe in Colvin and I was really looking forward to seeing what LeMahieu turned into. We had this debate on the site the other day and I mentioned that I just didn’t get what people were seeing in Stewart that I was missing. Stewart is a good defender, but I just don’t see him as an everyday solution for us at third.

Norm chimed in with his thoughts via E-Mail:

“Colvin and Stewart both had ridiculously bad seasons in 2011. Colvin put up a -1.0 fWAR while Stewart came in at -0.6. Yes, both of those are negative, meaning a AAA player could probably have done better. The only reason Stewart was “better” than Colvin was because of defense at a more important position.

Casey Weathers missed all of 2009 with Tommy John surgery and has only pitched about 75 innings over the last two seasons. The good: a career 11.3 K’s per 9 innings pitched. The bad: he’s 26 and hasn’t pitched above AA. The ugly: a career 7.1 walks per 9 innings.

D.J. Lemahieu, in my opinion, is the best player of the bunch, with the potential to make a lot of contact and put up some high, albeit empty, batting averages.

Theo and Jed are hoping for the Ian Stewart that had a .902 career Minor League OPS and was the #4 prospect in all of baseball in Baseball America’s 2005 prospect rankings. I see him as a Tyler Colvin that can play good defense at 3B. So, to me, that’s a good move.

But including Lemahieu and getting back the wild Weathers has me not liking this move at all.”

Rule 5 Draft Results – I’d been dreading the Rule 5 draft all week and today it went down almost exactly as I expected. The Cubs lost Ryan Flaherty, one of my favorite players in the system, to the Orioles and later lost Marwin Gonzalez to the Red Sox who in turn sent him to Houston. I wasn’t as disappointed at losing Gonzalez, but Flaherty hurts. On the plus side, we didn’t lose Jay Jackson.

The Cubs did decide to select a player, choosing to take a chance on Lendy Castillo from the Phillies. Several people broke down the draft and here were their thoughts on Castillo:

“Castillo was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006. He posted a 2.54 ERA with a 46/16 K/BB in 46 innings for Low-A Lakewood in the South Atlantic League this year. A converted shortstop, the 22-year-old Castillo has taken well to pitching and has classic middle relief stuff with a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a slider. His lack of pitching experience above Low-A is his biggest handicap.” ~ John Sickels

“Castillo originally signed with the Phillies as a shortstop, but after two ineffective seasons in the Gulf Coast League, Philadelphia decided that his plus arm might be more useful off the mound than making the play in the hole. Castillo is a long way from a polished pitcher, but he has touched 96 mph and he has shown the makings of a solid breaking ball.” ~ J.J. Cooper

My problem with the selection was that I don’t see Castillo being ML ready enough to be hidden in the bullpen this year. We tried the experiment before with David Patton and it failed. I made it known that I wanted to see us take a chance on Washington prospect, Brad Meyers, who was selected by the Yankees. I thought he was a better fit based on the lack of starting pitching depth we have in the high minors in the system.


  • An updated look at the top 111 free agents on the market this off-season – Hardball Talk
  • Kerry Wood wants to come back to the Cubs in 2012, but he wants to get paid. – Jon Morosi via Twitter
  • Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena have both declined the Cubs arbitration offers, which entitles us to compensation when they sign via Free Agency somewhere else. As a result a supplemental round pick will be coming our way in the upcoming June draft. It’s sandwiched between round 1 and round 2.
  • Yu Darvish has been posted. Get your bids in now.
  • Tim McCarver has won the Ford C. Frick award for excellence in broadcasting. Apparently it was one of those situations that happens in small town elections where no one else is on the ballot.


Do you like Mac & Cheese? Of course you do. Do you like bacon? Of course you do. May I present to you a Wisconsin Colby Jack Mac & Cheese Pie With a Bacon Crust


I’ve been meaning to get more Shinedown in my collection as this is the only song I have by them on my iPod, but I really enjoy their music. Here is the song that turned me on to them.

  • Doc Raker

    I dont like the Stewart trade, what do we need another .220 hitter for? At least we aren’t paying him 10M.

  • Jedi

    Raker…not yet we’re not paying him $10mil, not YET.

    .229/.309/.427 away from Coors. You’re saying we actually GAVE up something, anything to get this guy?

    DeJesus, now this blockbuster deal, Theo’s next move is a new coat of paint on the dugout roofs and then faster service at the McDonald’s across the street on Gamedays. It’s the little things that matter; the incredibly little, almost unnoticeable, what others see as insignificant things that will raise us to the pinnacle.

  • Still a fan of Colvin, but if anyone from the 2011 roster needed a change of scenery it was him. I’m holding my breath for a move than cleans out our stock of mediocre infielders… we still have our ace in the hole: Jeff “Untouchable” Baker.

  • Buddy

    I’m not a big Stewart fan, but I’ll certainly take him over Colvin.

  • Buddy

    And, the album of the day in Buddy Land is “Chaos and Creation,” Paul McCartney.

  • lizzie

    That’s some recipe! Not a whole lot of room to make that any healthier. Loved the comment from the gal who said she’d make it as soon as she could afford a defibrulator. Do you cook, Joe? I love to cook, though it’s of the healthy variety and hence much more boring!!!!!

    I liked Colvin and in general thought he got the typical raw deal because he festered on the bench. Either let him play or get rid of him, and I guess they decided rid was better. I’m ok with it.

  • Buddy
  • Lizzie

    I had to moderate my own comment. I wonder what word it didn’t like. Probably “healthy”.

  • I’m not seeing the sadness on trading LeMahieu. He’s entirely BA. Got to change the culture somehow, so trading away someone who doesn’t draw a walk for anything and doesn’t have a ton of power just doesn’t work well in a corner. Maybe if he took over for Barney he’d be useful at 2B or as a utility type.

    We do need a starting 3B for the next couple of years, and Stewart will be an upgrade over anyone not named Aramis on the FA market.

    For the top two guys, it’s a challenge trade. BTW, what are the Rockies going to do with Colvin, exactly? They’ve been overloaded in the OF the last couple of years.

  • Norm

    The people that get paid to analyze these things don’t see this as a loss to the Cubs at all. I guess I’m higher on DJ than most, I could see him as a Mark Grudzielanek type player; which while not an All Star, is a positive contributor.
    I’m not a fan of Colvin. If they released Colvin for nothing, that would have been fine with me.

  • mrbig

    I make it a point to not criticize the upper management until they have had a chance to prove themselves. As a Packer fan I think of when Ted Thompson came in and started getting rid of all our favorite players that we thought were still good, and this is not only Brett Favre. Now Ted Thompson is a hero in Green Bay, Brett Favre a distant memory, and the Packers are 12-0. I am hoping for something similar from Theo.

  • Norm

    mrbig, that’s a rare thing for a Cub fan. The instant Theo told Sandberg he was out of the running, the Theo-hate began.

  • MJ

    Colvin is 2011 team’s Rich Hill. The guy clearly lost it, and has no market value at this point. He had a huge hole in his swing, and everyone caught on to it, and he couldn’t make the adjustment. I like the trade.
    Like Mr. Big, I’m not grading this regime until about three years in. This year’s a total wash, so I don’t understand why anyone has any expectations.

  • Chuck

    My take on the trade is that it was a “You take our disappointing change-of-scenery guys and we will take your disappointing change-of-scenery guys”. Nothing to see here. Move along.
    I just hope that Stewart is not the “answer” at 3B. He could not hit in Colorado so I have zero confidence that he can hit anywhere.

  • Randy

    Colvin hasn’t been the same since he took that bat shard to the chest in Atlanta. I could swear he was closing his eyes as he swung at times this last season. Shaking up his environment could solve his problems, best of luck kid. DJ has great contact skills, but I didn’t see him playing into the Cub’s future plans. We are already loaded up on contact, low power hitters, we didn’t need another one.
    Stewart is the third base version of Colvin and I’ll be happy if he goes .270/.340/.650 which I don’t think is outside of his ability to do. If it doesn’t work out, we didn’t give up much IMHO.

  • That song is gratingly awful. He just doesn’t stop.

  • Jedi

    My assessment of Theo at this point has nothing to do with how he dealt with Ryno…not all of us swore to defend every move of HRH Epstein from the second he was hired. I would love to see positive movement in the player development and acquisition department, so far I haven’t. When that changes, so will my attitude towards the Theo regime. So far it looks to me as though we’re rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

  • Norm

    How fast would you expect your ideal hire to show positive improvement in the player development department?

    1 week? 2?

  • I think the expectations placed upon Theo are sort of unreasonable. More player development? Yesterday, for instance, he spotted Fast Tony on bench, worked on circle change grips with Cashner, and even taught Starlin how to crack sunflower seeds. He had all of the younger guys over to his place for dinner, where he gave them some nutritional tips and talked about the importance of getting plenty of sleep and staying hydrated. I’d say he is doing plenty.

  • Noah

    Jedi, I’m not sure what you’d expect a GM to do in the player development department in his first two months of the offseason, although to me I do see Theo and Jed saying that they don’t like many of the players the Cubs have been pushing through the system the past couple of years all that much and instead trading those players for individuals they believe have higher ceilings. Largely, I think the Cubs traded two guys who don’t walk and are average at best defenders for a guy who walks, hits for power and is a good defender. I just don’t think BA is going to be a big priority for the new Cubs brass, which I know means that you will disagree with some of their moves. If you think the Cubs should just dump all their veterans for whatever they can get and start a AAA squad, though, I disagree with you, although I’m not sure that’s what you’re saying. But how many of the guys the Tigers tried that with in ’03 panned out?

    Norm, to me the big difference between Grudzielanek and LeMahieu is defensive value. Grudzielanek was a very good defensive 2B who could also play a little shortstop. Based on all reports I’ve heard, LeMahieu would be a fringy 2B at best. While I agree on the offensive comparison between the two players, Grudzielanek only had a wOBA over .330 in five of his 16 seasons, and was over .340 only twice. That’s fine out of a slick fielding 2B. But if LeMahieu could never handle that position defensively, he wouldn’t have been anywhere near as valuable as Grudzielanek was.

    Overall, I’m fine with this move. I’m not big on it, I think it’s likely not an impact move, but I see where the front office is going, and we can’t say it’s unexpected. This is not a front office that is going like players who provide batting average but don’t hit for power or walk and aren’t strong defenders. Stewart is unlikely to be a solution at 3B. But unless LeMahieu becomes a much better defender at 2B, LeMahieu is a utility player at best or a stop gap at 3B until someone better comes along. And I really think the odds of Colvin being more than a 4th OF are quite slim.

  • I have no problem with the trade. Nor am I jumping up and down over it.

    Wisconsin Colby Jack Mac & Cheese Pie With a Bacon Crust? Just reading that worsens my health. Cheese is a condiment. Bacon is a condiment.

    Shinedown song? If I heard that song twenty times a day on the radio for six weeks I would still be unable to tell you the title, who sings it, or what any of the lyrics are. The song has nothing to recommend it.

    Your mileage may (probably will) vary.

  • Jedi

    So the either I laud his every move, or I’m expecting too much out of him.

    I don’t like anything he’s done to this point…and that’s fine, it’s early. I just don’t like any of it – and some of you fawn all over him as if he’s a genius who is cleverly weaving the fabric of winning back into a losing franchise.

    I’ve not called for his firing – nothing even close to it. I’m not disappointed with him, I’m not even saying it was a mistake to hire him.

    But apparently anything less than a wholehearted Theo love-fest means I’m being unreasonable.

  • Jedi

    Noah, “I just don’t think BA is going to be a big priority for the new Cubs brass, which I know means that you will disagree with some of their moves.”

    Same tired old argument. Not sure what warranted the cheap shot – ascribing to me something that I’ve never said. Perhaps it’s because I deign to question the perfect Epstein.

    In any case, I’m not so shortsighted as to instantly agree/disagree with a move based on a single stat.

  • MJ

    But Jedi, you have disagreed with all his moves. Based on stats.
    Until the guys hit the field it’s all conjecture. I not wowed by any of the moves, but look what the guys have to work with. I totally expected this year to be a waste, with crap being substituted with lowered salaried crap, in hopes of getting things turned around in two years.

  • Jedi

    Norm, no need to put a time on it. I’m just not going to praise his every move until there’s a reason to do so. Is that really hard to understand?

    jswanson, expectations? You don’t expect him to make positive strides in player development and acquisition? I do. And I expect that it needs to happen sooner rather than later for two reasons, 1) if he mainly uses the draft, it could take 2-3 years just to restock the farm system…which means more like 4-5 years before many of those guys are on the field. And 2) we’re terrible right now, it wouldn’t take much to constitute positive movement. So yeah, I expect to see some positive movement sometime in the near future.

  • Jedi

    MJ, I’ve disagreed with him based on stats? Really?

    My dislike for the DeJesus signing or this trade have nothing to do with stats actually. In DeJesus we got the left-handed Reed Johnson, and made him a starter. I wonder how many people would be upset if Johnson had been given a starting role? Oh, and DeJesus was 5x as much as Reed. Another starting outfielder wasn’t a big need.

    My dislike for this trade – Stewart couldn’t hit at Coors, but his ceiling is so high he’s going to figure it out at Wrigley? Again, we took a backup and made him a starter. Plus, giving up ANYTHING even a fading Colvin and a prospect as mediocre as Lemahieu seems like a steep price for a guy like Stewart.

    Not sure what any of that has to do with a particular stat.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Jedi, how dare you not drape yourself in “In Theo We Trust” bumper stickers and run through the streets singing the praises of Epstein and Hoyer! Don’t you know that building a dynasty always starts with at least a couple months of lateral moves, water treading, and wheel spinning? Who are you to apply the same logical, critical thinking to Epstein that you used with Hendry? Stop raining on our Theo love-in, you malcontent jerk!

  • Noah

    Jedi, that wasn’t instead at all intended as a cheap shot, but I’ll clarify. You have never said that OBP is not important, but you have stated that you think it is overrated at least in evaluations of particular players. You have made arguments regarding the value of batting average that at least strongly implicate that you value it as a statistic more than those in the stats community do. The moves Theo has made thus far have indicated that he’s going to pay relatively little attention to batting average. From your statements about players’ “overrated OBPs”, which you’ve made about Fukudome, Pena and DeJesus, you have emphasized this viewpoint. I’m not going to get in an all day argument with you about this, because I honestly have better things to do. But your consistent overreaction to what is at worst the smallest of slights is really not necessary. It’s a baseball blog that we all participate in as a hobby. It doesn’t bother me if we disagree, and I don’t think I have once ascribed an ill motive to anyone disagreeing with me here. We are not maliciously trying to attack your opinions. We just disagree, which is completely fine.

  • Joe

    Jedi, I think you’re being a little shortsighted on Epstein and Hoyer. The DeJesus signing was one to fill in for now. Colvin has been moved, which means there is a need for an outfielder on the cheap to play RF. With Soriano being shopped, things are happening in the OF.

    We saw them make an offer to Pujols and limit it to fewer years than what the Angels offered so as to not be locked in when Pujols walks to the plate with a cane instead of a bat.

    Give them some time. 100+ years makes us all very impatient.

  • Jedi

    Joe – shortsighted how? They’ve done no good – they’ve done no harm. It’s been two months, fine. If they move Soriano, then perhaps DeJesus might make more sense (but I’m not holding my breath that someone takes Soriano anytime soon).

    The general consensus here is that our new management has been a roaring success so far; I don’t think they’ve done much of anything worth praising (again, that’s fine because it’s very early).

    Noah, I think you need to stick to what I’ve said, instead of your perception of my opinion.

  • Norm

    You don’t have to laud every move. It’s snide comments like: “DeJesus, now this blockbuster deal” or “Ed Lynch would be proud”

    it’s all sarcasm and cynicism and that’s much more than “anything less than a wholehearted Theo love-fest means I’m being unreasonable”

  • MJ

    WHERE is the general consensus here saying that Theo and Jed have been a roaring success?
    I haven’t seen anyone jump out of their seats proclaiming these moves to be the best evar.
    You’re pissed about these moves, but you don’t want them in on the big free agents either. What do you want them to do?

  • Jedi

    MJ, I would love the Cubs to get better and younger. As I said last week, “Give him time to build his team, I don’t think his every move needs to be immediately lauded and rationalized for the positives.”

    It’s going to take time to get SIGNIFICANTLY better and younger (as I said before, it wouldn’t take much to start that process considering how bad the farm system is right now)…but neither of these deals has started in that direction. And no, not every deal has to be a perfect.

  • Chuck

    So far the moves that have been done seem to fit a pattern and strategy. The strategy is “We are in this for the long haul. We are not going to make any big moves now because the team is more than a couple of pieces away from contending. We need to rebuild so no long-term contracts unless the price is right. No overpaying for one guy when we need a few.” I tend to agree with this approach because the MLB club is a trainwreck right now.
    So far the only real move that has been made is reshaping the OF a bit. It went from Soriano, Byrd and Colvin to Soriano, Byrd and DeJesus. That is an upgrade in my opinion.
    It will be interesting to see how the 1B and 3B situations play out. I don’t consider that finished in any way, shape or form at this point so I will hold judgement until it is.
    One call I would make right now is to the Yankees to see if the Cubs could get Burnett and 80% of Burnett’s salary for a bag of chips. He is probably better than Rodrigo Lopez once you get him out of the AL East meatgrinder and you don’t really have to pay him.

  • Lizzie

    Jedi, you know I love you and value your opinions (or, if you don’t, please know it now!) But the vibe you have given off from TheoDay1 is that you hate him and everything he does. That may not be the vibe you are intending to give off, but nevertheless it’s how it comes across. Mostly everyone I’ve heard from around here has taken a “wait and see” approach (does not include Twitter or the fanbase at large, I know that’s quite different). You may be taking that same exact approach, but it hasn’t read that way.

  • gymjok

    look on the bright side-
    if we hit lightning in a bottle with dejesus and/or stewart
    jedi will be the most pleasantly surprised

  • Jedi

    Thanks Lizzie – not sure what has made it come off that way. I’ve several times said things like I quoted above. “Give him time to build his team, I don’t think his every move needs to be immediately lauded and rationalized for the positives.”

    I think we need to approach Theo with the same mentality that he approaches free agents. He’s repeated so often the mantra that you pay guys for the performance you’ll get during the contract, not their previous performance.

    But there’s an awful lot of “In Theo We Trust” floating around – even here. And that’s what I don’t subscribe to in any way at all. As with all new GMs, I’m cautiously optimistic…history would tell us that just because he was good elsewhere, doesn’t mean he’ll be good for us.

  • Pete S.

    @Jedi, Yet if Ryno would have been hired everything would be blue skies and sunshine, right?

  • Eddie Von White

    Bacon is meat candy.

  • Jedi

    Pete, not sure why you assume I think that – one move, a manager, a player, any one move isn’t going to shape my entire opinion of the new management at any point. I’ve not had a single bad thing to say about Sveum either.

  • Buddy

    I expect Theo to go back in time and win the World Series last year. Anything else is unacceptable.

  • chris in illinois

    Colvin’s best OB% ever is .336 back in ’07 as an old guy in the Florida State league…I have no idea if Stewart will work out, but there is almost zero chance that Tyler Colvin will ever be a useful ballplayer on a good team (he could luck out and hit an empty .290 one year and post a .323 OB% and some folks would start HOF talk). I for one am glad to see a management team that understands Rule One of baseball: “Thall shalt only swing at Strikes, Balls shalt not be offered at as weak-ass grounders are sure to ensue…”. Ok, last part was mine.