The Chicago Cubs faced a rather important decision on Friday night. As expected, the Cubs tendered contracts to starting pitchers Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija, reliever James Russell, and infielder Luis Valbuena. The decision that was important for the Cubs was whether or not to tender a contract to third baseman Ian Stewart. There were both pros and cons to whether or not the Cubs should tender a contract to Stewart. While Stewart, if healthy, would be the best candidate the Cubs have on the roster to be the starting third baseman in 2013, the third baseman has struggled offensively in each of his past two seasons.
While the Cubs did not close the window on Stewart potentially being the team’s starting third baseman to start the 2013 season, the team decided against tendering a contract to the third baseman. Stewart is now recognized as a free agent, and the Cubs are intent on bringing the former Rockie back on a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Yesterday, I wrote why it may be in the Cubs’ best interest to bring back Stewart for the 2013 season.
Stewart was not the only non-tender that the Cubs had on Friday night.Relievers Zach Putnam and Jaye Chapman were not offered contracts and like Stewart, have become free agents. It is somewhat surprising that the Cubs did not offer a contract to Chapman. Chapman is a 25 year old who likely would have been a part of the Cubs’ bullpen in 2013. Like Stewart, the Cubs are interested in signing both Putnam and Chapman to a Minor League deal. The Cubs also announced that pitcher Casey Coleman has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to the Iowa Cubs.
The Cubs have added flexibility on their 40 man roster as well as with the moves on Friday, their roster now stands at 37.