Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart opened up on Twitter last night, causing many to shake their heads and wonder if his time with the Cubs organization is nearing an end.
It started when a fan asked Stewart, who is making $2 million this year, if he would be coming back to Chicago anytime soon. He replied, "Probably never," which encouraged a slew of fans and critics to tweet back.
He would later say: “I meant they might as well release me since I have no shot at a call-up.”
Talk about desperate.
I have been a fan of Stewart since his time in the Rockies organization. I interviewed him in 2008 when he was in Triple-A on the cusp of a major league call-up when the Rockies were very excited about his potential. I was excited to see him join the Cubs, even though I was sorry to see Tyler Colvin leave.
He struggled with the Rockies despite showing decent power, never being able to hold a respectable average. When traded to the Cubs, people thought that a change of scenery and a full-time job would help the former top prospect break out (that excitement soon evaporated).
Health issues derailed his opportunities in Chicago, leaving the big league club to rely on Luis Valbuena while patiently waiting for former first-round pick Josh Vitters to emerge. They also just drafted power-hitting third baseman Kris Bryant, who could be in the big leagues as early as next season (probably more like 2015, though).
They also have a bevy of infield prospects in their arsenal, which, if all goes well, will lead to a creative reshuffling of the deck in the near future.
Javier Baez, Starlin Castro and Junior Lake will all hopefully play in the same infield someday, and if Vitters emerges, it would create a "good problem" to have. Stewart should know that he isn't in the long-term plans, and he shouldn't openly give up just because he thinks the manager does not like him and he probably won't get a call up.
Stewart also tweeted during his late-night rant that if Valbuena were to get hurt, they probably wouldn't even call him back up. Sorry to say, but when you're hitting .164 with four home runs and a .279 OBP in 110 at-bats, there is typically only one place to go. Does he really think he would find more success if he was in the majors?
Baseball is very unpredictable. An injury at either corner could give him a two-week tryout to reignite interest in him in Chicago. But the fact that he is sharing via Twitter that he has essentially given up and we're not even halfway through June makes me think the Cubs should cut him loose, even if it is what he wants.
Chalk it up to a momentary lapse in judgement, and re-circulate the company policy regarding Twitter.