Cubs, Diamondbacks Interested In Stewart

SUNDAY: The Orioles, Mariners, Pirates, and Angels have also inquired on Ian Stewart, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).

6:13pm: In addition to the Cubs, the Diamondbacks are also interested in Stewart, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.  The 26-year-old is very likely to go somewhere, according to Heyman.

FRIDAY: The Rockies think highly enough of Stewart that they would not consider trading him for DeWitt, according to Renck.

11:39am: The Rockies have already moved Ty Wigginton and Chris Iannetta this offseason, and they're reportedly open to dealing Ian Stewart and Huston Street as well. Troy Renck of The Denver Post reports that Colorado has asked the Cubs for Blake DeWitt in exchange for Stewart, but talks between the two clubs have since cooled.

DeWitt, 26, is a left-handed bat with experience at second, third, and in left field. He's hit .258/.309/.396 with nine homers in 447 plate appearances for the Cubbies after coming over in the deal that sent Ted Lilly to the Dodgers at the 2010 trade deadline. Renck says the Rockies would prefer to get a pitcher in any deal involving Stewart as well.


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109 Comments on "Cubs, Diamondbacks Interested In Stewart"


3 years 9 months ago

seems like everyone would lose there

3 years 9 months ago

Really, I like Blake DeWitt.
Street & Marmol in the same bullpen! Ha!
I would pay to see that. I really would.

imachainsaw
3 years 9 months ago

i’d rather the cubs have stewart at third than dewitt, but that’s not really saying much. it’s like choosing between a pile of feces and pile of puke.

EarlyMorningBoxscore
3 years 9 months ago

I’d like to see if the Sox can get in on Huston Street to close. 

Cosmo3
3 years 9 months ago

Practically a lateral move, but if I’m the Cubs I probably do it. Stewart’s got a lower  BA, but higher slugging and OPS. With a full season, he could hit 20 dingers. Passable place filler for a rebuilding team that currently has no one at 3B.

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

There’s also the matter of Stewart could improve. DeWitt is what he is, and it’s pretty bad. With Baker, Barney, and LeMahieu around, DeWitt isn’t worth crap to the Cubs unless he starts juicing or something.

Stewart could at least get better and surpass DeWitt in value, and he’ll be a bit cheaper.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

1) People seem to forget that even before Stewart completely collapsed in 2011, he was never good in any year before that.  He’s always been a fringe-regular, and this whole “upside” thing is pretty confusing.

2) I’d rather have DeWitt than Barney or LeMahieu in general, although I guess it’s true that Castro’s less-than-stellar range at SS and slowing lateral quickness make Barney’s range at second a bit more valuable to Chicago.  For Colorado, since they have Tulo, DeWitt >>> Barney.

3) Stewart is more expensive.  He made over $2MM last year in his first of four arbitration years as a Super Two, whereas DeWitt still made minimum salary last year, and is hitting arbitration for the first time.  They both have the same number of team years of control left, but DeWitt will almost certainly be cheaper in each of them.

Thomas W
3 years 9 months ago

.246/.334/.454 was his line from 08-10 is better the .257/.317/.387 line NL 3B posted last year especially since he is above average defensively

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

You do happen to be aware of the fact that Ian Stewart plays at Coors Field, right?  League-average wRC+ last year for third basemen was 92, which Stewart is much closer to because of his park adjustment.  That league-average wRC+ mark, when adjusted per 600 plate appearances, is worth about 1.6 fWAR.  That’s not very good.

Thomas W
3 years 9 months ago

You do realise that Stewart had an OPS of .802 on the road in 2010(his last heathy year) to go with a .757 home OPS and of course he is not very good, if he was they wouldn’t be dumping him.

SwingtimeInTheRockies
3 years 9 months ago

 Yeah, come on, Tommy, park adjustments only ever apply to Rockies hitters!  Yikes, Coors!  Aaarrrrgggg!

Tommy Meyers
3 years 9 months ago

You must not watch the Cubs often.  Castro has great range at short, he just can’t throw, and how is his lateral quickness slowing, he is 21 years old??  Barney has very little range at 2nd and Lemahieu is a very good defender

imachainsaw
3 years 9 months ago

while you’re very much right about Castro’s great range but inaccurate arm, you’re assessment of Barney is faulty. Barney has nice range at 2nd, and is a pretty solid defender. It’s his bat that’s nothing to write home about.

Tommy Meyers
3 years 9 months ago

Trust me, I like Barney.  The guy is a winner and has heart, but if a guy can’t hit, he better be a hell of a defender, and he is not.  Lemahieu is the much better player of the two and has much more of an upside given that Barney is 26

imachainsaw
3 years 9 months ago

I can definetly agree on LeMahieu’s upside. I think as he fills out a bit more, he can combine his high AVG bat with some power and be a really good 2B. But if he’s not ready yet, I’d say it’s in our best interest to just keep 2B as is with Barney.

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

I agree they should let LeMahieu get a shot, but that might be over at 3B, because DeWitt’s not worth a damn with the bat OR glove; Barney can at least field well (+5.1 UZR at 2B).

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

His great range at short must be why he had a RngR of -0.7 last year at the position.  As players go from being wiry, thin athletes in their teenage years and early 20’s to being muscle-bound, thicker athletes in their “physical peak” years, they lost mobility because they carry so much more weight.  Their strength increases significantly, which is why hitting ability typically improves and which is why this is considered their “prime,” as hitting ability is the most significant part of player value, far more significant than a step or two’s worth of range.  But make no mistake, Castro’s range is far from “great” for shortstops.  He may look fine to someone watching him more than any other SS in the league, but most shortstops around the league have stellar mobility, and someone has to be substandard.  The fact that Castro is that someone is no crime, and he is an elite baseball player even in spite of it, but it is true.

Richdanna
3 years 9 months ago

“Castro’s less-than-stellar range and slowing lateral quickness”? 

He’s already losing a step at age 21???

LMAO!  This post is priceless.  You couldn’t be more off base…

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

He should be expected to lose a step going into his mid-20s.  That is pretty on-base, actually.  It’s hard to find a professional analyst who doesn’t express a concern that Castro’s lower half will fill out and move him off the position.

Richdanna
3 years 9 months ago

Lmfao!! Not at 21 years old, they’re not expressing concern! Who the hell do you think Castro is, the Hulk? Is he suddenly going to explode overnight? Please stop trying to prove this point. You sound so ridiculous. Especially when the “experts” say that the biggest dip in speed is at age 32, not the mid-20’s which constitute their peak years.

When I get back to my home computer, I’ll post you about 20 links backing that up.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Speed =/= Quickness.

Also, please do not.  Disagreeing or debating is one thing, but being a prick and trolling with links is another.  Further, consider Hanley Ramirez, and look at his year-to-year UZR and TZ totals.  His defensive peak was was in ’08 at 24, he was solid in ’09 at 25, and he’s been horrible there the last two years, necessitating the Reyes signing.

It’d be great if you find some simple, quick-to-understand data of players with similar builds to Castro (like Ramirez), but trolling with links will prove nothing.

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

1. He’s never been all that good, no, but he at least has some power. The Cubs have enough slap-hitting infielders with little or no power, like Barney, DeWitt, and Castro (as good as he is, he lacks power). Stewart might be a lesser fielder, but if he can go back to popping 20-25 HR, it’s worth giving u pa mediocre player in DeWitt. Stewart COULD become a useful player, but DeWitt is pretty much past that. He’s a bench guy and nothing more, and that will never change.

2. I would DEFINITELY rather have Barney over DeWitt. DeWitt’s a little better with the bat, but Barney was rated as a better baserunner by FanGraphs (+5.0 to DeWitt’s -0.1), and he’s a MUCH better fielder (+5.1 UZR at 2B to DeWitt’s -0.7 UZR at 2B and career mark at second of -9.0). DeWitt actually managed to be below-average in the field at 2B, 3B, AND LF last season. MAYBE if DeWitt could become a full-time 3B he could also become a respectable fielder (had a +7.4 UZR as a full-time 3B in 2008, -3.6 2009-2011). However, to get that, you have to take a TERRIBLE hitter from that position, and the Cubs can’t afford to do that unless they sign Pujols/Fielder, IMO.

3. That’s true. He costs more, but it’s not like he costs a lot. Also, if DeWitt outplays Stewart by a decent margin, he could end up costing more (not that the Cubs would want that, haha).  I’d rather spend an extra million dollars or so and take the chance on Stewart.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

1. This idea that Stewart can get back to that plateau when he did it once in his career – at Coors – after leaving for a less-hitter-friendly park is a bit confusing to me.  Even when he did hit those HRs, he wasn’t particularly valuable as an everyday player.  Isn’t that a red flag to people proclaiming that he has so much potential because of the homers he’s capable of hitting?  Also, the “DeWitt is a bench guy and nothing more” argument is strange when his value keeps getting overshadowed by being jerked from position to position where he doesn’t belong.  I’m not saying there’s an obvious call of who’s better, but there’s an argument to be made that DeWitt at second everyday is more valuable than Stewart at third everyday, and the attitude that there are obvious differences that cannot be disputed is pretty flawed.

2. Barney is so much riskier going forward than is being given credit for.  You’re relying on a guy with one year of data to continue being the seventh-best baserunner in the league, to continue posting a 23% line drive rate without any sort of power, and to continue to BABIP .310.  Each of those things is pretty unlikely.  Without those things, Barney turns from capable everyday guy to utterly useless.  I’ll take the hitter that DeWitt has shown himself to be over that immensely risky player in Barney.

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

You should join the forums. It’s a lot easier to have these long discussion on there (for some reason, this site struggles if I type something lengthy).

It’s under the TOOLS section of the MLBTR site if you’re interested.

RanceMulliniks
3 years 9 months ago

A later Denver Post article says that the Rockies don’t think that DeWitt is enough return for Stewart, but may instead be targeting Tyler Colvin or a minor league pitching prospect. 

3 years 9 months ago

That would make more sense. Stewart has to be worth more than that. He’s only two seasons removed from hitting 25 HR. And his splits tell you his power is legit.

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

DeWitt and Colvin is too much, but Colvin alone? I’m not sure. The Cubs have Barney, Baker, DeWitt, and LeMahieu at the 2B/3B slot. Adding Stewart without moving one of them leads to a logjam of 5 players, 4 if you send LeMahieu down.

I’d say it would have to be DeWitt and a pretty low-end pitching prospect.

catch21_2
3 years 9 months ago

Keep in mind Tyler Colvin was literally the worst player in the league last year…

And that move does not help the Rockies in the least.

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

That’s not necessarily a true or fair assessment, because he didn’t play a full season. Stewart was pretty much on-pace to be as bad as Colvin (I compared them, and I want to say Colvin was going to be -.01 worse than Stewart, but I forget). Stewart was also making $2,287,500 last season. DeWitt and Colvin COMBINED made $900,000, about 2.5 times less than Stewart.

TartanElk
3 years 9 months ago

Why would the Rockies want Colvin when they have Blackmon, Garner, et. al.?

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

Good question. Someone else suggested it, and I was just commenting on the suggestion.

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

Good question. Someone else suggested it, and I was just commenting on the suggestion.

jwsox
3 years 9 months ago

how is colvin(fell completely out of favor with the cubs) who is not even going to be their 4th OF next season baring some sort of soriano “we ate 75% of his contract”  trade. And DeWitt who is more than likely not even the back up middle infielder due to baker being there. To much for Stewart. Colvin has had 1 good season and been horrible sense. He may be a change of scenery guy or he simply may be bad. But DeWitt and Colvin for stweart might be a good deal for both teams. Colvin might find his power again playing in coors and Stewart wont have to worry about being sent back down AGIN because the cubs really have nothing in terms of 3rd base prospects

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

I’m going to go wit the fact that Stewart was worse than BOTH last season. Stewart had an OPS+ of TWENTY-ONE. If you don’t know OPS+, he had an OPS under .500. That’s just unacceptable.

I don’t even know why you’re defensind Stewart so vehemently. You say Colvin has been horrible SINCE his one good season, but that was ONE SEASON ago. He posted an OPS of .816 last year, better than Stewart’s ever done.

Stewart as he stands right now is pretty much just a redundant piece for the Cubs–a 2B/3B with hitting issues. They can cover 2B and 3B with enough players who aren’t great hitters, like Barney, LeMahieu, and Baker.

Stewart was just a pitiful player last season, even worse than Adam Dunn. Even the season he his 25 HR, he couldn’t hit over .230. He basically does like Carlos Pena, except he can’t hit 30-40 HR like Pena…at COORS.

I don’t care to give up a player of similar value (Colvin) for him, then add DeWitt, just because the Cubs have enough anemic hitters to cover second and third without him.

Also, it’s funny how you rag on Colvin for not being able to be a 4th OF when he outhit Stewart by a decent margin while being so bad he was sent to the minors, as Stwart also was.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

I find that extremely confusing, considering the fact that Tyler Colvin is atrocious.  I guess there are some worthwhile arms the Rox could target, though.

bigpat
3 years 9 months ago

Not a bad deal for Chicago. Get a cheap, live body to play third to get you through this season. I’m not a believer in him breaking out, but there’s always some chance. 

3 years 9 months ago

Do it. Now. Blake DeWitt doesn’t do much for me. Stewart at least has power potential.

Chiburgh
3 years 9 months ago

yeah, this seems like a real no-brainer for Theo.

johnsilver
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah.. Stewart ain’t really nothing to go cukoo over by any means, but geez… look a what DeWitt is??? A utility guy in the mold of Willie Bloomquist with half the speed.

Take the chance and see if Stewart can find the stroke..he just might hit 30 or so HR at Wrigley if he does and be more valuable in the end than deWitt ever would.

imachainsaw
3 years 9 months ago

if stewart couldn’t hit in Coors, what chance does he have anywhere else? I agree that dewitt is useless, he doesn’t even have a good glove, but either is a poor choice.

johnsilver
3 years 9 months ago

Hey… I agree with you there…

Few days ago when the site mentioned Stewart was available I compared him with an inferior version of Jonny gomes and I still do.

Most people know that Gomes is 90% useless with his bat + glove..Stewart isn’t far off and utility infielders can found for less than the probably less than 700-800k range Dewitt will get via arbitration this year.

Not trying to go out and really slam nDeWitt, it’s just that thereis no peak for him… he is already there.. find another on te crap heap and sign him while maybe Epstein is thinking Stewart has a 20-30% chance of being a mark Reynolds type at 3B

imachainsaw
3 years 9 months ago

haha well idk about you, but if you were to tell me a possible acquisition only had a 20-30% chance of topping out at a whopping 2 WAR, I’d rather bet on another horse. but I guess if the only two options were dewitt or stewart, well f*ck.

The_BiRDS
3 years 9 months ago

I would take Stewart for DeWitt in a second. Stewart had a really awful down year but if he can get it together you’re looking at a possible 30 HR power threat at Wrigley.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Career high of 25 HR at Coors = 30 HR potential at Wrigley?

Yeah, that makes sense…

The_BiRDS
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah if he is capable of hitting 25 in a season and “gets it together” he could hit 30 while playing at wrigley.. wrigley is a little league park.

Makes more sense than saying “Stewart was never good in any year before that (last year)”… because he was. In 2009 and 2010 he had soild years.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

In 2009 and 2010, Ian Stewart posted respective wRC+ totals of 93 and 97.  As per Fangraphs, among qualifying 2011 third baseman, either of those totals would place him 11th on a list that currently contains 14 players.  The only player with a wRC+ total at or below 100 who posted an fWAR total of 2 or higher (i.e. average regular or better) was Placido Polanco, whose 88 wRC+ was made up for by a 14.0 UZR.  Ian Stewart has a career 2.3 UZR/150.  Stewart’s fWAR totals in those ’09 and ’10 seasons were 1.2 and 1.5.  Those are not solid years, they’re fringe-regular years.

The_BiRDS
3 years 9 months ago

OK stop playing general manager and over analyzing here for a second.. your responds is a bit much. If you take a huge step back and look at what Stewart did and is capable of doing its a good trade considering DeWitt is pretty much a bench player.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

I just explained to you what Stewart did, which gives us a decent idea of what he’s capable of doing.  It’s not much.  DeWitt’s capabilities, if regularly played at second base or third base, match the abilities of what Stewart has done so far in his career, regardless of whatever “bench player” titles you want to throw on him.  Argue about what Stewart is capable of from a scouting standpoint all you want, but he has also shown the ability to be far worse than DeWitt has ever been, and showed that ability just this last year.

NorthSideIrish
3 years 9 months ago

I like the upside of Stewart, but he strikes out a ton and the Cubs need to get away from that. Plus, with DeJesus now in RF, if you put Stewart at 3B, there’s not a whole lot of places left to add an impact bat. Even if the managed to add Fielder, he’d get walked every time up because there is no one behind him in the lineup for protection. 

I’d rather see the Cubs get Headley, but the price for him will be steep and I’m not sure they can afford to do that right now either.

Richdanna
3 years 9 months ago

Lineup protection is a falacy if you have contact guys in the lineup who can move runners along.  The Cubs’ problem over the last 2 years was the aboniminable OBP’s clogging up the lineup.

JLBCUBS
3 years 9 months ago

Its a bad deal for the Cubs if it is anything more than a straight trade.

cubs223425
3 years 9 months ago

Yeah, there needs to be some explaining. If Colorado said Stewart-DeWitt straight-up, Theo has some problems for not accepting. I’m guessing Colorado’s not that stupid and asked for a bit more than would make the deal reasonable (with how badly Stewart struggled).

If they can take DeWitt and cash or a pretty low-end OF/pitching prospect, I’d be fine with that. It’s just senseless to trade for Stewart WITHOUT sending DeWitt, since they have 3 other 3B (LeMahieu, DeWitt, Baker) and 4 other 2B (same 3, plus Barney).

jrodhard
3 years 9 months ago

DeWitt will be a utility man at best. He is mediocore defensively no mater where you play him. He has little power.

I can’t see trading 2 players for Ian Stewart though. He has limited value since he has regressed seemingly every year. If the Rockies want more for Stewart they will have to expand the deal on there end as well…if they add Street to the deal, then the Cubs can give up someone of more value.

Adding Street would allow the Cubs to either flip him for another need or trade Marmol to fill holes elsewhere and use Street as the closer for 2012 while they decide the best roles for Cashner, Smararjzdia and Carpenter between the rotation, set-up role or closer spots.

They could also flip Street at the deadline to a contender assuming he is pitching somewhat well. 

Zatch17
3 years 9 months ago

The cubs have nothing the Rockies would want for us to give up Street for, except Garza. Street is not as good as he once was but there are a ton of teams who want him, and with Heath Bell and Papelbon gone, teams will start getting desperate, well once KRod and Madson are also gone.

Joshua Edwards
3 years 9 months ago

Cubs taking on Stewart is admitting there are no better in-house options at 3b and they are unwilling to invest in a bat. Stewart’s defense is barely better than Ramirez, though with slightly increased range. But his bat is a swing and miss waiting to happen, and the chances he makes contact is zero compared to DeWitt. The likelihood he reaches base is so low it makes me long for the days of Aaron Miles.

I like that he bats lefty. 

I hate that he’s befuddled by the strike zone and offers little upgrade on defense.

Casey McGahee makes both Stewart and DeWitt look like minor leaguers. That’s terrifying. 

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

But I’d rather take chances w/DeWitt over Stewart.. & I’m no DeWitt fan by any stretch, except for backup/platoonage…

LaughHammer
3 years 9 months ago

I would give up DeWitt for 2 ball park hot dogs and a cold beer but that might be getting too much value back for DeWitt.

imachainsaw
3 years 9 months ago

i’d give you a room temp beer and a hot dog with only ketchup.

Christopher David
3 years 9 months ago

Make it mustard and a German beer, and you’ve got a deal

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

But for Stewart I’d think you’d only get the bun for that dog, French’s mustard & a cheap domestic beer like Blatz or maybe a Bush…

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

I really don’t see how Blake DeWitt is so bad.  Yeah, he’s a below-average defender at second, but if you actually keep him there rather than patrolling him in the outfield (there is literally no reason to do this), his bat plays pretty well, actually.  His 91 wRC+ last year would have placed him only behind 12 qualifying everyday second basemen – Pedroia, Cano, Zobrist, Kinsler, Weeks, Kendrick, Phillips, Uggla, Carroll, Walker, and Johnson.  Since the Rockies have Tulo and his stellar range at shortstop to help cover some of the ground that DeWitt can’t (i.e. helping compensate for DeWitt’s defensive limitations), there’s some good value there when  all you’re giving up is Ian Stewart.

Yeah, DeWitt is probably a crummy fit at second in Chicago because Starlin Castro also has substandard range and projects to possibly lose a step in the next few years, so those two as an up-the-middle tandem probably leaves too big of a hole, but how is DeWitt any worse than Stewart at third?  Even before collapsing to a 13 wRC+ in 2011 (13!!!!), Stewart ranged from 93-100 in the three previous seasons with a glove that was consistently below-average at the position.  In the seasons during which DeWitt has gotten consistent playing time, he’s been in the 89-92 wRC+ range, with a career average of 89 and an above-average glove at third (by his UZR/150 splits).

So, essentially, you’re hoping for a bounce-back from Stewart to get similar value to what DeWitt already provides at the position, with the same number of years of control, and with Stewart costing more money.  Stewart has “potential” and all, but he’s done little but regress since joining the big leagues and wasn’t even all that valuable when he hit 25 homers.

Not getting how this is so crazily lopsided in Chicago’s favor, to be honest.

jrodhard
3 years 9 months ago

Have you ever seen Blake DeWitt play? If you have, then you could see why he is so bad…

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Obvious response: Have you ever watched Ian Stewart play?  (But, frankly, this argument really doesn’t prove anything in the first place, so I really don’t care whether or not you have.)

Yes, I follow the D-backs religiously and I watched him a ton when he was with the Dodgers, playing on a regular basis.  He has some talent.

Richdanna
3 years 9 months ago

I love metrics as much as the next guy, but your statement that watching a player doesn’t prove anything is an obvious red flag that you know numbers well, but absolutely jack diddly squat about the game of baseball. 

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Not at all what I said.  AT ALL.

What I said was that some casual fan who a) doesn’t think analytically enough while watching a game, b) doesn’t have the proper perspective that comes from watching multiple teams regularly, rather than being a Cubbie die-hard, and thus c) doesn’t know what the difference between a +5 glove and a +0 glove is isn’t someone who I’m going to listen to if they tell me things that go completely against what metrics say.  Particularly when *professional* analysts express concern that Castro might have to move off shortstop all the time, why would I listen to what the masses – who generally tend to be less informed – believe about Castro instead of what the professional analysts tend to believe about Castro?

You’re taking my arguments to extremes that they’re not intended to be taken, which is understandable considering that everyone else has done that.

Richdanna
3 years 9 months ago

One, because your “experts” are not concerned about Starlin Castro at age 21. That’s ridiculous. Quote your sources that say They are worried about Castro at age 24-25 losing a step and I’ll quote mine that say that players speed doesn’t decline until 32 years old.

By the way, you’re NOT talking to someone who doesn’t understand metrics. You’re NOT talking to a Cub homer who only watches Cubs’ games.

Which is why the argument for Castro to lose a step this year is hysterical.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

You make it sound as if I’ve limited my frame of reference to 2012.  Not sure where you got that idea, but this whole thing started as a way of comparing whether or not you’d rather have Blake DeWitt or Darwin Barney as the second baseman for the Cubs going forward, and my point was that a) Castro’s range isn’t great, and b) it’s certainly not getting better.  Thus, even if DeWitt is generally superior – my opinion – Barney is a better fit for Chicago to make up for Castro’s slight shortcomings.

Considering that the Cubs only have control of Castro through his age-26 season, I think my referencing the Keith Law post is pretty sufficient in that regard.

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

LoL!!  I have, & agree with you… That’s why they put a converted SS over at 2B so they didn’t have to put up with his sorry defense.  That’s not to say that he can’t improve there though, & keeping him for backup 3B & 1B as well with his lefty bat is better than trying this Stewart….

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

“Castro has substandard range…”???  That’s ludicrous…. And I’m not talking about the rapper…  Barney would not have converted to 2B & Castro would not be at SS if that was the case….

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Career UZR: -10.9
2010 UZR: -2.1
2011 UZR: -8.7
Career TZ: -28 (lulz!!!)
2010 TZ: -12
2011 TZ: -15

Castro’s range has already declined from 2010 according to UZR – the metric that thinks less poorly of Castro, I might add – slipping from a solid 6.5 RngR in 2010 to a below-average (i.e. substandard) -0.7 RngR in 2011.  Again, to emphasize this properly, that’s the metric that’s *bullish* on Castro’s defense.  His range might look fine watching him on an everyday basis, but that’s because you’re probably underrating what “standard” or “average” range for the position is.  It’s an incredibly high standard.

The reason Barney was converted to second base instead of Castro is that you don’t move a star player off his position for the sake of a stopgap filler type like Barney.  Barney is awful and should never be the reason to move someone off their position.

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

What????  LoL!!  He’s 21 & now your telling me his range has already declined… LoLZ!!

Yes, Castro is a star & has plenty of range… His accuracy throwing the ball is his weakness.  If Barney was the better SS he would be playing SS.  Sandberg was a star for the Cubs as well, guess they never moved him from 3B to 2B?  Bzzzt, wrong.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Samples fluctuate, but the data isn’t nonsensical.  Defense improves over time typically because of strength of arm, improvements in accuracy, and better reads, but quickness peaks early.  So, yes, that’s exactly what I’m telling you and I have actual data to back it up.  You have?… a couple of acronyms, some excessive punctuation, and a subjective opinion.  Well done, you totally got me.

Throwing the ball is definitely his biggest weakness – his defensive error ratings are worse than his range ratings – but that doesn’t mean much.  In other words, just because his range is relatively valuable compared to his atrocious throwing accuracy doesn’t mean that his range is relatively valuable compared to the range of other big-league shortstops.  That’s awful logic.

You also have a ton of flaws in your “but they shifted Barney instead and they shifted Sandberg too!” argument:

1) This assumes that Barney wouldn’t in fact be even worse than Castro – Barney’s 120.2-inning sample at shortstop is too small to even begin to evaluate.  Moving Barney, who would likely be an awful big-league defensive shortstop, doesn’t mean that Castro is good. It just means that Castro is less awful than Barney, if you even believe the argument that the Cubs would choose to play the best defensive player at the position for 2011 with no regard for the future in the first place.

2) Sandberg played all of five games at third base in the minors.  He was moved to third in the big leagues for 1982 because a) he wasn’t an established big-league star like Castro was prior to the 2011 season when Barney assumed a full-time role, and b) the Cubs had an established big-leaguer at second in Bump Willis who couldn’t go anywhere else, and some guy named Larry Bowa at shortstop who I’ve heard was pretty good.  The following year, in 1983, Bowa was still there, but Willis was gone and the Cubs got Ron Cey to play third base, which necessitated Sandberg’s move to second.  Also, Sandberg didn’t establish himself as a star until 1984, and never left his position after that point.  Also, there’s the fact that Sanberg was actually good at defense compared to the league-average player at his position, unlike Castro.

3) Just think about it, for heaven’s sake.  Darwin Barney is not in the Cubs’ long-term plans – or at least he shouldn’t be.  Why would you move Castro off of shortstop in 2011, putting him at second and making him learn an entirely new set of reads for that position, then jerk him back to shortstop in 2012 when you find someone better than Barney for your infield?  That kind of back-and-forth position switching won’t help Castro’s development, and isn’t something you subject him to so that you can play freaking Darwin Barney at shortstop. If Castro ever changes positions, it will be for good and because the team has either found a permanent upgrade or he has become utterly unplayable there.  Neither of those things has happened yet, so Castro remains a shortstop.  You don’t inflict any sort of potentially detrimental changes on your franchise cornerstone.

Daniel Han
3 years 9 months ago

UZR is a terrible metric

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Then use TZ, which I provided and which thinks Castro is seven worse.  Also, UZR is far better of a metric than some random commenter’s subjective opinion about someone from his/her favorite team.

imachainsaw
3 years 9 months ago

aren’t all defensive metrics kinda terrible? to me it seems they really haven’t figured that one out yet.

Tommy Meyers
3 years 9 months ago

Explain how Castro has substandard range at short.  Plus, since when do 21 year old players lose a step in the next couple of years??? 

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

See my reply above to MonsterPike for the first answer.

As for the second part, well, since always.  It makes intuitive sense, too – as people and athletes mature into their mid-to-late-20’s, they add strength and reach their “physical prime” in baseball terms, which is their prime value because they add muscle and strength, which results in an expected improvement in hitting ability, which is the greatest determiner of overall player value.  However, adding that bulk and muscle means you’re moving around more mass, which means that lateral mobility can be expected to go down.  When Castro came into the league, remember how scrawny he was?  He’s not getting any scrawnier – he’s getting thicker, and that’ll steadily reduce his lateral mobility and probably eventually move him off of shortstop.

Richdanna
3 years 9 months ago

You should really step back and re-read your propagan….. i mean posts.  They’re quite ridiculous when you take the time to do so, which literally gave me an upset stomach.

In no land, in no time that you and I have ever seen, read about, nor dreamed of, does a 21 year old athlete lose quickness.  Not in ANY sport.

Yes, Castro may eventually bulk up and be moved away from SS, but that is not going to be THIS year, and it’s 100% assuredly not going to be because he’s slowing down as a 21-year old.

I hate to be brash, but “stat geek” is a glaring understatement for you.

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Isn’t propaganda supposed to have an objective?  Not sure where my objective comes from, considering that I have no vested interest in the Cubs.  Also, your cute little “upset stomach” is some of the most ridiculous hyperbole I’ve ever read.  Thought you should know.

From Keith Law’s latest top-50 under-25 list: “The biggest issue for Castro is that his lower half is already slow, and if he gets thicker and slows down further, it’ll guarantee he moves off short and could in theory keep him from second base as well, although his arm is strong enough to play anywhere on the field.”

The point that I’ve been trying to emphasize most isn’t that he’s going to necessarily lost a ton of quickness already, but that he’s already relatively slow and isn’t likely to add any quickness as his body fills out and adds more muscle.

I’m not sure where the logic isn’t sticking that an athlete gets thicker as he adds muscle, and how that additional muscle would make it more difficult to move laterally.  Of course it’s not going to be this year.  When did I say it was?  His defense at short last year had value because, even in his current below-average state at short, he’s more valuable there than as an error-prone yet adequately mobile defender at third.  But everyone whose opinions are valuable to me seem to think a move is likely, and it makes sense.  Not sure if that’s a “stat geek,” but I tend to think that I just listen to opinions that I think ought to be listened to or trusted.

Tommy Meyers
3 years 9 months ago

Sure, he could add “thickness” to his legs, but I do not believe that necessarily slows him down.  If he goes through the proper workout routine, he will add explosiveness in his lower body, thus increasing his quickness.  This should increase his range, not take away.  The idea that he would simply be putting on bulk for the sake of bulk is an absolute joke.  These guys emphasize quickness, explosiveness, and a quick first step. Also, I look at this as not a subjective fan, but as a former college baseball player who has a great knowledge of the game.  I don’t just watch the Cubs and I know what to look for.  

azdsnd
3 years 9 months ago

Not necessarily, but probably – it’s all about the odds.  Castro’s no great, rangy defender as it is, and the better odds are on him slowing down further as he adds bulk.  He *could* turn into Omar Vizquel, but he could also turn into Hanley Ramirez, who the Marlins found too bulky for shortstop, necessitating their new Reyes overpayment.  It’s not that he’s actively choosing to put on bulk for its own sake (which would be a joke, if we had that kind of absurd conscious control of our physical conditions), but that his body is making the choice for him.  Whether or not he wants to or it’s good for him, he’ll probably add muscle mass as he ages.  It’s just reality for athletes.  They can emphasize what they want, but that won’t prevent Castro’s body type from trying to conspire against him.

scott brecht
3 years 9 months ago

i think baker will end up playing third over dewitt or anybody else currently on the team.  vitters had a good fall league, so maybe he wan win the spot in spring training.  and lets be honest, this is going to be a lost season, so let’s see if vitters can hit in the bigs, see if barney can bounce back from a bad second half, see if colvin can have a better start, is cashner or shark can make it as a starter.  

jrodhard
3 years 9 months ago

Baker will never be an every day player in the big leagues. The fact that he kills lefties but barely touches right handers will make him a role player for the rest of his career. He is another guy, like DeWitt, who is not good defensively no matter where you play him.

3 years 9 months ago

Why don’t they ship him to Atlanta in a package for Martin Prado.  The Braves will need somebody to back up Chipper if Prado is gone, and Atlanta seems to have an inexhaustible supply of pitching prospects.

Maybe if the Braves included Prado and a guy like Randall Delgado, the Rockies would give up Seth Smith. Tim Wheeler, and Ian Stewart.  That would benefit both teams.

Zatch17
3 years 9 months ago

Smith is not going with Wheeler or Blackmon, that’s final. And the Braves just asked for Smith and Arenado for Prado, so they’re grasping at strings to not get a deal done and hope that O’Dowd is dumb, which he is.
I would be absolutely fine with sending Smith and Stewart for Prado. Stewart cannot hit clutch and has fringe years, Smith cannot hit lefties, and Prado couldn’t hit last year. It evens out.

jrodhard
3 years 9 months ago

why are several of you saying Castro has poor range? Where is the defensive metrics to back that up? The majority or his errors the last 2 years were on throws, some he shoudl not have tried…he may fill out and need to move but Hanley Rameriz is a big boy and is fine defensively. Cal Ripken was no small man and played great SS into his mid-30s…

Chipper_is_GOD
3 years 9 months ago

Dear Braves,

Please stay away from the Rockies. I have a feeling that they want to give Ian Stewart for Prado.

3 years 9 months ago

starlin castro was 5th in the mlb in range factor so enough said about his “poor range”

jayrig5
3 years 9 months ago

There just so few available, decent third basemen.  If they can’t get Stewart or Headley for a reasonable price, or somehow bring an as-yet-to-be-mentioned player (Callaspo maybe, if Ramirez signs there) as part of another deal (Marmol, perhaps) then I think they might just try a DeWitt/Baker platoon.  Which I would not be excited about, and I doubt they would be either, since DeWitt doesn’t seem to go along with their philosophy.  But it would be better than overpaying for a marginal asset.  

All that said, I hope they trade DeWitt or Baker.  You don’t need both of them.  And if they think LeMahieu can play a utility role next year, you don’t really need either of them, assuming you can get back some pieces to actually fill holes.

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

Uh, yeah you could use both of them… 1 is RH & the other LH. They both play everywhere in the IF, minus SS, & both corners in the OF.  Guys like that are great for double switches & emergencies… Both are decent off the bench & neither make a ton of money…

This Stewart guy does not impress me over either one of these guys except he has a bit more power… But he loses big with his sub par batting avg. & concerned w/his major dropoff last yr.  The fact he hits LH is a plus, but so does DeWitt… & DeWitt is a bit cheaper at this point…

jayrig5
3 years 9 months ago

I’m aware of their respective handedness.  But just because Quade put DeWitt and Baker in the outfield doesn’t make them capable of playing outfield.

Baker is defensively limited, as is DeWitt.  Baker cannot hit right-handed pitching.  DeWitt hasn’t been capable of hitting anything.  

Baker’s probably getting around $2 mil this year.  He’ll be 31 in 2012, and had a negative WAR last season, on both Fangraphs and B-R.

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

You were the one that said they don’t need 2 players like them… & would rather have Stewart… who is a career .236 hitter… & who was awful last yr. at .156 batting avg. I would say that wasn’t “able to hit anything”… Give me DeWitt who can fill in at 2nd, LF, RF, 1B & played SS a couple times last yr. & Baker  over this Mendoza line hitter any day….

jayrig5
3 years 9 months ago

I could fill in at 2nd, LF, RF, 1B, and SS.  Doesn’t mean I’d do it well.   

The Cubs used James Russell as a starter for months last year.  Just because the Cubs put someone somewhere doesn’t mean they are qualified to play there on the major league level.

And Stewart has had seasons in the past, at young ages, that interest me.  

You must have been really pleased with the Jim Hendry era…all he cared about was batting average too.  (Direct quote from Sam Fuld with that one.)

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

Oh lord… How James Russell got in this I don’t know….

Now Jim Hendry & Sam Fuld too???? And Fuld hit .240, he should thank Hendry for moving him to a team that played him… Any other team he would be the 5th OFer… You’re all over the board… Any body else you want to bring into this topic? LoLZ!!

And I suppose you like a lineup of .236 hitters, but I don’t… You can have em.  Lets hope the Cubs do better than that.. I trust Theo will.

jayrig5
3 years 9 months ago

Yes, why on earth would I talk about the previous regime’s organizational philosophy…what good does context do.  You’re right.  And Hendry traded Fuld to the Rays because the Rays value OBP and defense.  As does Theo.  Hendry and the Cubs did not.  That was the point Sam Fuld made in a Fangraphs interview.  And we’re not talking about a lineup of .236 hitters, we’re talking about filling a hole at 3B from a limited pool of options.  

Anyway.  No point in continuing, your last post made my argument for me better than I could ever hope to.

MonsterPike
3 years 9 months ago

LoL!!  You’re hilarious at best…

And you do know what Fuld’s obp was last yr. don’t you?  .313. Do not think the Rays value that… LoLZ!! 

Now you would have a .240 hitter in the OF… a .156 hitter at 3B… Suppose you like Pena a .230 some hitter at 1B..  Keep fillin those holes… LoL.  And watch another 60-70 game win season… No, But thanks for playin’… You made for good entertainment in these parts, though!!  Preciate it.

jayrig5
3 years 9 months ago

Fuld was a 1.7 WAR player for Tampa last year, so yeah, I’m sure they did value him.  

Wrek305
3 years 9 months ago

DeWitt is limited to hitting as well Baker is a good hitter. And he’s a good option at 3rd to replace Ramirez who is declining fast at the hot corner. They can have Colvin at 1st Baker/Steward at 3rd and if Vitters is ready call him up and trade Baker for minor league pitching. Trade Byrd in June and call up Brett Jackson. Bring up Jay Jackson. Let Jeff Samaraja start. From March thru July do a Closer by committee Wood/Marshall/ Cashner/Carpenter/ and if they are desperate Marmol. It’s not gonna be shocking they will be out of contention in May again. Signing a guy like Fielder or Pujols will not get them to the playoff it might get them 40 more hrs from last yr.