Is anyone else wondering if the Cubs and Ian Stewart are a little dizzy after the 360 degree mini rollercoaster loop they went through? In the days leading up to the Winter Meetings, Cubs fans went from wondering why Stewart was still on the 40 man roster, to watching him get non tendered just hours before the deadline, and now finally seeing the third baseman back with Chicago after the front office was tempted by a few outside options on the market.
During that period, Jeff Keppinger was a name mentioned that the Cubs took an honest interest in. However the cross town rival White Sox were the ones to ink the infielder at $12 million over three years, a commitment in money and years that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer rightfully balked at. On Monday I suggested the Cubs throw Eric Chavez’s name into the hat, and according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs did make inquiries about the former Yankee. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Bob Brenly was not the only person the Diamondbacks snatched away from Chicago, as they inked Chavez to a one year $3 million deal that would have certainly been within the Cubs budget.
On Halloween, I also felt that the Cubs should consider bringing back Casey McGehee as a possible platoon with then injured Stewart. According to Sullivan the player was definitely interested in reuniting with not only with the Cubs but Dale Sveum as well, but Epstein and Hoyer apparently did not share the sentiment. While we are on the topic of shooting down rumors, Sullivan adds Yuniesky Betancourt to the false gossip list.
The Tribune writer also name dropped Mark Reynolds as a previously unmentioned target, but the news of the signing of Stewart figures to put an end to that pursuit. According to his sources, the contract is non guaranteed, meaning the Cubs can walk away without paying the agreed $2 million salary if Stewart is cut during Spring Training. If Stewart makes the Opening Day roster, he would get his $2 million contract and also have a shot at an additional $500,000 in incentives. This combination of compensation is within the range of what Stewart would have earned had he and the Cubs gone through the arbitration process.
As it now stands, the Cubs leave the Winter Meetings basically having addressed all of their position needs. Whether or not the new additions will be of quality remains to be seen, but that will be a story for another day.