The Cubs acquired third baseman Ian Stewart and minor league pitcher Casey Weathers from the Colorado Rockies in a trade that sent outfielder Tyler Colvin and minor league second baseman DJ LeMahieu packing on Tuesday. Much like Colvin, Stewart had a down year in 2011, batting just .156, while seeing only limited action.
It is unknown whether Stewart will assume a starting role at 3rd base or play a more limited bench role, but his career numbers suggest the latter, with his highest batting average of his career being a minute .259 in 2008, despite playing at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Stewart’s best season came in 2010, when he hit 18 home runs and tallied 61 RBI’s in 121 games.
Weathers was a former first-round draft pick, but is already 26 years old and has yet to pitch above AA. Weathers best season came in 2008 while playing for the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League, when he pitched to a respectable 3.05 ERA in 44 relief appearances. Unfortunately, Weathers missed the entirety of the 2009 season and proceeded to post a mediocre 4.15 ERA in in 2010, and a worse 5.32 ERA in 2011.
Colvin made his major league debut with the Cubs in 2009 in Milwaukee and won fans over with an impressive 20 home run season in 2010, despite starting the season on the bench behind Kosuke Fukudome. Colvin struggled mightily in 2011 and never secured a permanent roster spot, spending time with AAA Iowa. Colvin still has the potential to be a 20 home run hitter again, and he should see his numbers improve over 2011’s at Coors Field.
LeMahieu may be the biggest piece of the trade and was one of the Cubs top prospects. LeMahieu split time between the minors and majors in 2011, making his MLB debut and appearing in 37 games, producing a .250 batting average (15-for-60). LeMahieu plays good defense and has to potential to be a quality starter at second base, but was ultimately blocked by rookie Darwin Barney.
The Cubs made a few other moves today, involving the Rule V draft and a Mexican League club. The Cubs selected right-handed pitcher Lendy Castillo from the Philadelphia Phillies is the major league stage of the draft. Castillo has a career 2.43 ERA in the minors since being converted from a position player, and will have to stay on the 25-man roster for the entirety of the 2012 season or be returned to Philadelphia. The Cubs also selected infielder Ricky Alvarez from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and proceeded to sell his rights to the Sultanes de Monterrez of the AAA Mexican League.