A bit of surprising news coming off of the North Side today, as the Cubs did even more retooling of their roster, with these moves relating specifically to the infield.
With speculation that he could be traded or released, it came as no surprise when the Cubs designated infielder Blake DeWitt for assignment on Monday.
DeWitt was tendered a contract by the Cubs earlier this offseason, which came as a bit of a surprise. He was acquired from the Dodgers back in 2010, in the trade that sent Ryan Theriot and Ted Lilly to Los Angeles.
With LA, DeWitt showed promise when he hit nine home runs and knocked in 52 runs in 2008. But his bat declined, and so did his glove once he arrived in Chicago. He was useful as a utility player, but with so much overhaul on this roster, there’s likely not room for him to fit into the picture on the infield.
Now with DeWitt having been DFA’d, which takes him off the 40-man roster, the Cubs will have 10 days to decide what to do with the 26-year-old. They can trade him, release him, or place him on waivers to head to Iowa. But with his salary, it’s unlikely he’ll ever make it there. If he ends up on waivers, it’s almost a sure bet someone will take a chance on him.
The real intrigue on Monday comes from the Cubs’ claiming of Oakland Athletics infielder Adrian Cardenas.
Cardenas is already a favorite to take DeWitt’s spot in Chicago this season, and at just 24 years old, could still have some nice upside that most haven’t seen yet. But given the fact that he hasn’t cracked a Major League roster yet, he’s not much of a known quantity.
Cardenas fits the backup infielder role that the Cubs were looking for, as he’s capable of playing all over the field. His bat is considered a very good upgrade over DeWitt, if the numbers he put up in Triple A last season are any indication.
With Sacramento last season, Cardenas hit .314, posted a .374 on-base percentage, knocked in 51 runs, and added 13 swipes. If his bat comes along as expected, he could break camp with the Cubs as a backup on the middle infield.
In fact, there’s already some out there that are favoring Cardenas to supplant Darwin Barney at second base before long.