Josh Vitters is the future at third base for the Cubs, president Theo Epstein told Ian Stewart, Stewart explained to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat. That means playing time will be hard to come by for Stewart at Triple-A Iowa, where he landed after being removed from the Cubs’ 40-man roster this month. Stewart wondered if the comment was Epstein’s way of trying to get him to give up his contract, but the third baseman told Muskat, “It wouldn’t really make sense for me to take a release or ask for free agency, because then I’d be giving up my contract, and that doesn’t make sense for me financially or for my family.” Stewart signed a $2MM deal to remain with the Cubs after being non-tendered in December, and hoped to be with the big league club after rehabbing a February quad injury.
Not to say Ian Stewart didn’t deserve a cut in playing time due to circumstances that transpired this offseason and spring training, as well as his lackluster play, but the fact that Josh Vitters is going to be the future at third base is a bit scary for a number of reasons. Obviously Stewart would rather keep the money, and if that’s within his power, we can’t blame him. The other issue is what happens to Luis Valbuena whenever they decide to bring Vitters up. Do they put the two guys in a platoon? Or does Vitters show that he was worth the investment after all and take the majority of the playing time?
Strange things, indeed.