The Chicago Cubs essentially swapped out utilitymen today by claiming former Oakland Athletics minor leaguer Adrian Cardenas, and designating Blake DeWitt for assignment.
DeWitt was actually a former top Dodgers prospect, OPSing .728 in his rookie year of 2008 while starting at third base. He spent most of 2009 in AAA, and in 31 games as a bench player in the majors, he OPSed just .633, mainly as a pinch hitter. The Cubs acquired him in 2010 as part of the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal, and he OPSed .709 on the season between the two clubs, regaining a starting job, but this time at second base. DeWitt was a bench bat for the Cubs in 2011, getting just 243 plate appearances in 121 games, and got time at second, third, and left field. It’s funny that DeWitt was DFAed, because back in December, the Cubs wouldn’t deal him to the Rockies in the Ian Stewart deal. Now, the Cubs are out both DeWitt and infield prospect DJ LaMehieu after dealing the latter (along with Tyler Colvin) for Stewart.
I guess the Cubs are ready to roll with the relatively untested Cardenas as their utility man after cutting DeWitt. The 24 year-old spent last season at AAA for the A’s, his first full season at the level, and he put up a very solid .792 OPS in 127 games (545 plate appearances). Cardenas played four positions last season, including second, short, third, and left field. His versatility can allow him to be a solid and cheaper replacement for DeWitt, who was scheduled to make $1.1 million in 2012, his first season of arbitration.