Cubs 3B Ian Stewart Says He's Likely to be Non-Tendered

Posted by Michael Castillo | 7/21/2012 12:04:00 AM |

It's been a rough go of it this year for Ian Stewart, as a wrist injury has sidelined him for seven weeks and forced him to require an early-July surgery.

Stewart played in just 55 games for the Cubs this season, hitting five home runs, with 17 driven in and a batting average a smidgen over the Mendoza Line, at .201. It's been a rough two seasons for the third baseman, as he spent time in AAA last season in the Rockies organization, and in a combined 103 games in 2011 and 2012, has a rather skimpy OPS+ of 50.

Perhaps rest is exactly what the 27-year-old needs, as he went to twitter on Friday night to officially get the word out about his predicament.

When asked if Stewart expected to return to the North Side in 2013, he wasn't exactly going to beat around the bush, giving the truthful answer.
With Vitters having his best professional season at Iowa, Stewart is likely spot on. Nonetheless, it's easy to feel for him.
Let's hope for football season too. Well, after the trade deadline.

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The Cubs defeated the Marlins 5-1 on Thursday at Wrigley Field, to complete a 5-1 homestand. Oh, and somehow, they've managed to put together the best record in all of MLB since June 25th. Believe me, I don't get it either.

But, while that's all fun, what the Cubs do before the July 31st trade deadline is the much more important situation at hand in the grand scheme of things (summarized: sorry to break it to you, but the Cubs aren't making the playoffs this year). And we just got some news that may get the ball rolling for some major Cubs trades to happen.

The Cubs just acquired pitcher Justin Germano from the Red Sox for cash, and designated right-hander Jairo Asencio for assignment (source: Cubs' Twitter).

Germano, 30, has pitched for the Padres, Reds, Indians, and Red Sox in seven major league seasons, compiling an 8-20 record, 4.91 ERA, and 1.384 WHIP in that span. The 6'2", 230-pound right-hander made a start for the Red Sox on July 7th against the Yankees, and tossed 5 2/3 shutout innings. He pitched in 17 games (16 starts) at triple-A Pawtuckett this season, putting together a 9-4 record and 2.40 ERA.

Asencio, 28, was claimed off waivers from the Braves by the Cubs on June 1st. He had a fine 3.07 ERA for the Cubs in 12 appearances, but that ERA should be considered extremely lucky when you factor in the 12 hits and 11 walks he allowed in 14 2/3 innings pitched.

Reports are that right-hander Casey Coleman (currently on Iowa's roster) is joining the Cubs tomorrow, and will officially be a part of the 25-man roster if Justin Germano doesn't arrive in time. But, that could just be the Cubs covering up the fact that they're having Coleman hang around because they have a deal in the works for Ryan Dempster, who was expected to be traded by his next scheduled start, which is... tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

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Jorge Soler, the 20-year-old Cuban outfielder that the Cubs gave a nine-year, $30 million contract in June, will make his minor league debut on Thursday for the AZL Cubs (Rookie League), according to ESPN Chicago Cubs beat writer Doug Padilla:

Soler is 6'3", 205 with tremendous power potential, and projects as your prototypical right fielder. On Monday, Baseball America's Jim Callis updated the publication's top 50 midseason prospects list by inserting recent international free agent signings and draft signings, and Soler came in at No. 44.

Also added to that list (at No. 38) was the Cubs' 1st round pick (No. 6 overall selection) in the 2012 draft, 18-year-old outfielder Albert Almora, and you can see in Padilla's tweet that the Cubs are not ready to throw the just-out-of-high school player into minor league games yet.

Oh, and back to Soler- the AZL Cubs may have one of the most powerful middle of the orders in all of the minor leagues with Soler and Dan Vogelbach (.360/.423/.779 with 7 HR and 30 RBI in 20 games) in it. Quite an entertaining rookie ball roster in Mesa.

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USA Today baseball writer Bob Nightengale shared some solid info in his "Trade deadline primer", about where he's hearing Cubs right-handers Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster could be traded before the July 31st deadline.

Starting with Garza, Nightengale is hearing the"Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers would love" to have him.

The Tigers' interest in Garza has been well-documented, going back to this past offseason (with pitching prospect Jacob Turner being the main name brought up as part of a return package). But, there's been conflicting reports of late as to whether or not the Rangers (currently 5.5 games up in the AL West) are legitimate players for Garza. The Rangers feature a top-5 farm system, so if Garza's going to be dealt, that might be the organization the Cubs could get the best prospect return from. Simply put, interest from the Rangers is a very good thing.

But the most noteworthy Cubs-related nugget from Nightengale's article was definitely about Dempster:
The Dodgers are the leaders for Dempster, according to a high-ranking Cubs official, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because negotiations are ongoing.
Dempster's expected to be dealt any day now, and we can officially consider the Dodgers the front-runners to acquire him.

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Reports over the last few days suggested that the red-hot (to the tune of 33 straight scoreless innings) right-hander Ryan Dempster pitched his last game as a Chicago Cub on Saturday. Now, the rumors of where Dempster could soon land are picking up steam, and it appears the Boston Red Sox are one of the leading candidates to acquire his services.

ESPN's Buster Olney just tweeted that a source told him the Red Sox are aggressively pursuing Dempster:

Adding on to the point Olney made in the second tweet, Jed Hoyer & Jason McLeod know the Red Sox system very well too.

The Red Sox are currently 9.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East, but are just 1.5 games back in a very crowded AL Wild Card race, so they'll surely be hoping to make a Dempster-esque splash before the July 31st trade deadline.

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Cubs sign 16-year-old Dominican prospect Frandy De La Rosa

Posted by Matt Clapp | 7/02/2012 12:34:00 PM |

The Cubs and 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Frandy De La Rosa agreed to a $700,000 deal on Monday according to Baseball America's Ben Badler.

The switch-hitting De La Rosa was ranked #19 on Baseball America's top-20 international prospects list, and #10 on MLB.Com's top-20 international prospects list (where you can see video of De La Rosa).

Here's the scouting report on De La Rosa from MLB.Com's Jonathan Mayo:

The switch-hitter has a good feel for hitting and has good hands on defense, but he will need to continue to develop his tools and build strength if he wants to stay in the infield. For now, his makeup and ability to hit from both sides of the plate are what scouts find the most attractive about the young infielder. Scouts have praised his soft hands but have expressed some concern about his running and throwing abilities.

De La Rosa is from Elias Pina, near the Haitian border, and moved to Boca Chica because his mother believed the larger city could provide more opportunities for her son develop as a baseball player. Educated and grounded, De La Rosa’s good makeup works in his favor. He is considered mature for his age and could develop into a leader.

A star in the Dominican Prospect League, De La Rosa was a member of the league’s All-Star travel squad that played games and put on showcases at big league sites during Spring Training.

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