Chicago Cubs: Dealing a future batting champion
Before the 2012, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were just taking over the Cubs front office. Tyler Colvin had followed up his breakout 2010 season with a disappointing 2011. Ian Stewart who had been the Rockies starting third baseman for nearly two and a half years before also had a disappointing 2011. So this was one of those classic change of scenery moves.
Colvin’s bat was supposed to be re-energized by getting to play half of his games in Coors Field. If Stewart worked out, for a rebuilding club that would be great. If not, the Cubs would soon acquire a parade of third base prospects (Bryant, Olt, Jeimer Candelario and Christian Villanueva).
Colvin ended up having one good year for the Rockies. Stewart didn’t work out for the Cubs. But this is one of those deals where one of the other players included mattered. At the time of this trade Darwin Barney was the Cubs starting second baseman. Along with Starlin Castro, Barney was one of the few players on the major league roster who had a chance to still be with the Cubs after the rebuild was over and the competitive window opened up. If Barney was the Cubs’ second baseman of both now and the future then the Cubs didn’t have a place for DJ LeMahieu.
Unfortunately for the Cubs LeMahieu ended up being the most valuable piece in this trade. He’s been an All-Star twice. A Gold Glove winner twice. LeMahieu won a batting title. In 2016, he even finished 15th in the MVP voting. So this little trade ended up being a big deal that went the wrong way for the Cubs.
Chavez might only be a Cub until other pitchers (Darvish, Brandon Morrow, Anthony Bass, Eddie Butler) get back from the disabled list. Or he might be the glue that holds this pitching staff together. Either way just because he isn’t a big name doesn’t mean that this trade might not end up being a big deal.