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Rockies trade Stewart, Weathers to Cubs for Colvin, LeMahieu

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According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have traded third baseman Ian Stewart and right-hander Casey Weathers to the Cubs for outfielder Tyler Colvin and infielder DJ LeMahieu.

It’s probably not the big splash that Cubs fans had been hoping for out of the new Theo Epstein-led regime, but it’s a nice low-risk swap capable of paying dividends if things bounce right.

Stewart posted a miserable .156/.243/.221 batting line with zero home runs and six RBI in 136 plate appearances this past year for Colorado. But the 26-year-old has a .913 career OPS at the Triple-A level and mashed 25 home runs as a major leaguer in 2009.

Stewart also has good hands and decent range at the hot corner.

Weathers is basically a throw-in. The former first-round pick had a 5.32 ERA and 48/48 K/BB ratio in 45 2/3 innings this year at Double-A. Already 26 years old, he appears unlikely to ever realize his full potential.

As for Colorado’s haul: Colvin slugged 20 home runs alongside an .816 OPS in 2010 as a rookie before taking a large step back in his sophomore campaign. The Rockies will hope that the thin air at Coors Field can rejuvenate his power numbers. LeMahieu made his big league debut in 2011 at the age of 23 and boasts a .317 career minor-league batting average. He could see some playing time at second base in 2012.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.