Tyler Colvin has been the topic of the weekend for the Chicago Cubs. With most of the Cubs’ position players starting to come around offensively and Colvin still scuffling, there has been an increased amount of speculation that Colvin could be headed to the minor leagues soon.
While the Cubs are not playing today, there have already been a variety of different clues that would suggest that Colvin is likely head to Triple A-Iowa.
The most obvious clue is that Colvin has essentially fallen to the bottom of the outfield depth chart. Veteran Reed Johnson has been receiving most of the starts in place of the resting starters–Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, and Kosuke Fukudome. However, the fall of Colvin goes beyond Johnson.
When manager Mike Quade posted the lineup card today, Blake DeWitt was scheduled to get the start in left field. That would have marked DeWitt’s first major league start in the outfield. Which then would pose the question why is an infielder getting the start in the outfielde instead of Colvin, who is a natural outfielder. That goes to show how much Colvin has fallen out of favor with Quade.
But to Colvin’s credit, the Cubs are not handling Colvin correctly at all. In a practice that was criticized under former Cubs manager Lou Piniella, current Cubs manager Mike Quade has relegated Colvin to pinch hit duties and nothing more. That immediately puts Colvin at a disadvantage, as the pitcher is always going to have the upper hand against a batter who is just entering the game at that specific point in the game. If Colvin was receiving regular playing time, there would be no discussions going on about the eventual demotion to the minor leagues for Colvin.
Speaking of Colvin’s inevitable demotion, ESPN Chicago’s Sahadev Sharma reports that the Cubs are seriously considering sending Colvin down to the minors. No Surprise there. But what is interesting about the reports is that they name prospect Tony Campana as the option to replace Colvin on the 25 man roster. Before today, the likely candidate was Lou Montanez.
Campana, 24, has been with the Cubs since he was drafted by them in the 13th round of the 2008 draft. He received extended looks by Cubs managers Piniella and Quade in the past two spring trainings, and currently is with the Iowa Cubs. Through 115 at bats this season, Campana is hitting .339/.377/.443 with an OPS of .821. Campana would fit well with the Cubs 25 man roster as a player that can be used as a pinch runner, defensive replacement, and occasional pinch hitter. Sooner or later the comparisons to Sam Fuld may be casted on Campana.
But calling Campana up does not make much sense for the Cubs, about as much sense as sending Tyler Colvin down to the minors makes. Because while Campana is not considered as a top prospect, the Cubs still consider him as part of their future. But by bringing Campana up now, they would be starting his arbitration clock. Which would not be worth it considering that Campana would only serve the role as a reserve outfielder who sees most of his playing time on the base paths or in the field instead of at the plate. Because of this reason, I would imagine that if–at this point, when–Tyler Colvin gets sent down to the minors, Lou Montanez will be the one replacing him on the 25 man roster.