Who Is Adrian Cardenas?
As Cubbies Crib newest staff-writer wrote earlier today, the Chicago Cubs have designated veteran utility man Blake DeWitt for assignment. The move came in light of the Cubs claiming 24 year old utility man Adrian Cardenas off waivers from the Oakland Athletics. DeWitt being DFA’d does not come as a surprise to myself. With the likes of Jeff Baker and Darwin Barney already a part of the Cubs’ 25 man roster, and the fact that the team was looking for a back-up middle fielder; it seemed likely that DeWitt’s days with the team were numbered. DeWitt, when he was acquired from the the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010 in a trade included Ryan Theriot and Ted Lilly being dealt to Los Angeles, was considered as a potential solution to the Cubs’ long-term need at second base. The only issue is that DeWitt never progressed offensively, and that led to his early departure from the Cubs’ organization. While DeWitt could still return on a minor league deal if he is not traded or released in the next ten days, it seems likely he will be playing elsewhere in 2012.
With DeWitt now a part of the past, here is a look at his likely replacement on the 25 man roster in the form of Cardenas.
Cardenas was the first round selection of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2006 MLB first-year player draft. Cardenas was then traded to the Oakland Athletics organization in 2008. Cardenas was on Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects in baseball in both the 2008 (#76), and 2009 (#74) seasons. No matter what level Cardenas has been on over the course of the his professional career, he has produced offensively. In three totals seasons on the Double A level, Cardenas posted a hitting line of .326/.407/.436/.843 in 711 plate appearances. Meanwhile, in three seasons on the Triple A level, Cardenas posted a hitting line of .290/.349/.387/.736 in 884 plate appearances. Doing the math, one would figure that Cardenas spent six seasons between the Double A and Triple A levels. That, in large part, is the reason why the 24 year old infielder is no longer considered to be a top prospect. Having said that, Cardenas fits the mold of the type of team that President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer are building. Cardenas has talent and his age could make him a vital part of the Cubs’ long-term future.
In case there is any doubt, I fully expect Cardenas to break camp with the Cubs. Cardenas is left-handed hitter that is capable of playing second base, shortstop, third base, and left field. Cardenas has yet to make his major league debut, but that will come at some point in the early portions of the season with the Cubs. If Cardenas is capable of duplicating his offensive input that he produced on the minor league level on the major league level with the Cubs, the 24 year old may just take the starting second base job away from Barney.