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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.