Hey DJ


Don’t look now, but the Cubs may be silently starting their youth movement. Jeff Baker has been sidelined since last weekend because of a strained left groin. The Cubs were hoping to avoid placing Baker on the disabled list, but apparently the injury was severe enough to do so. The Chicago Cubs announced today that Baker has been placed on the 15 day disabled list.

The interesting news is not that Baker lands on the disabled list, as he adds to an already growing list that includes Marlon Byrd, Reed Johnson, Matt Garza, and Andrew Cashner. Instead, the interesting part of Baker being moved to the disabled list is the corresponding move that went with it. By now, the status quo for general manager Jim Hendry and manager Mike Quade is that they would call up a veteran player playing at Iowa to take the place of the injured Cub. But instead of going the Scott Moore or Bobby Scales route, the Cubs decided to call up one of their top draft picks from 2009.

DJ LeMahieu has been called up from Doube A- Tennessee to take the place of the injured baker. There is no question that LeMahieu’s 2011 season with the Smokies was enough to warrant the call up to the major leagues. Through 50 games, LeMahieu was hitting .358/.386/.492/.878 to go along with 19 extra base hits with the Tennessee Smokies before being called up.

This is a very interesting roster move by the Cubs front office. While by all means they deserve to be applauded for finally appeasing the fans’ interest by calling up a player with the potential that LeMahieu has. Though, the move contradicts what they have done already this season. Specifically, referring to the Tyler Colvin situation. Colvin was never able to receive at bats at the Major League level, and because of that reason he was sent down to Triple A-Iowa. LeMahieu could be in the same position as Colvin was.

This season LeMahieu has played both second and third base. LeMahieu has also spent some time at shortstop during his college years. But neither of those positions are open on the major league roster. For obvious reasons, Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro are not going anywhere. Until Aramis Ramirez can prove that he can once again hit for power, don’t expect teams to be calling about trading for him. Meaning, Ramirez will play out the season with the Cubs. Then there is Blake DeWitt. DeWitt has barely seen the playing field as he his hitting .244 in 45 at bats this season while playing second base, third base, and left field. So, LeMahieu will likely be viewed as a super utility man coming off the bench. Not the best scenario for a 22 year old player making the jump from Double A to the Major Leagues.

This might be over-analyzing the move, but, there may be a trade looming for the Cubs. Because the Cubs would not have called up LeMahieu if they only intended to send him back down once Baker returned from the disabled list. If that was the case, then Bobby Scales or Scott Moore would have received the call up and not LeMahieu. So assuming LeMahieu is here to stay–dependent on how well he peforms on the Major League level–that means a trade is likely coming. No Aramis Ramirez will not be traded, so the trade would logically have to include Baker or DeWitt. With Baker on the disabled list, DeWitt would appear to be the odd man out. If anything DeWitt may net the Cubs a player to be named later but not much than that.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how LeMahieu handles the transition from Double A to the Major Leagues. And then from there, what happens if he succeeds?