Chicago Cubs: Trading DJ LeMahieu to the Colorado Rockies
This was one of Epstein’s first moves with the club, and it turned into a disaster.
DJ LeMahieu, admittedly, wasn’t projected to be a superstar when he made his major league debut with the Cubs back in 2011. He got into 37 games that year and went 15-for-60 with no home runs. Epstein obviously didn’t think much of him, because on December 8, 2011, just weeks into the job, Epstein packaged LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin to the Colorado Rockies for Casey Weathers and Ian Stewart.
LeMahieu took a few years to come around with the Rockies, but he won a Gold Glove Award in 2014 before breaking through with the bat in 2015, batting .301 with 61 RBI while earning an NL All-Star appearance. Then, in 2016, he led the league in hitting at .348 while posting a .911 OPS. With the Yankees, he became an MVP candidate, leading the league with a 1.011 OPS in 2020. He’s a free agent this offseason and will cash in big.
Weathers never made the majors, but even that was a better ending than what happened with Stewart. The team was hoping that Stewart could be a decent third baseman for the rebuilding team in 2012; instead, he only got into 55 games and batted .201. He re-signed as a free agent prior to 2013 but was sent to the minors, which prompted Stewart to criticize the Cubs on social media. He last saw action with the Angels in 2014.
Because it happened so early in Epstein’s tenure, some might overlook this trade compared to the one with the White Sox. However, given Epstein’s bad misjudgment of LeMahieu, this trade has to be the worst move that Epstein made.