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Two-thirds of Cubs’ ‘Three C’s’ in 2010 toiling elsewhere

The Rockies’ Tyler Colv(being forced second Saturday by StarlCastro) once was talked up as building block for Cubs’ future. |

The Rockies’ Tyler Colvin (being forced at second Saturday by Starlin Castro) once was talked up as a building block for the Cubs’ future. | Paul Beaty~AP

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Updated: September 27, 2012 11:41AM

It might seem like a long time ago, but it was 2010 that outfielder Tyler Colvin was on his way to hitting 20 home runs as a rookie, Starlin Castro became the Cubs’ every-day shortstop and right-hander Andrew Cashner made his major-league debut with a 100 mph fastball.

The Cubs soon dubbed them the ‘‘Three C’s’’ and marketed them to a frustrated fan base as building blocks for the future. The threesome was dismantled last winter, when Colvin was traded to the Colorado Rockies in the deal for third baseman Ian Stewart and Cashner was sent to the San Diego Padres as part of the trade that brought first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs.

‘‘When you sign, you have dreams of staying with the team that drafted you your entire career,’’ Colvin said. ‘‘But it really doesn’t happen that often. It’s just one of those things. I’m a Rockie now. I’m not even going to try to think back to the Three C’s.’’

During a season that has seen the Cubs commit to a youth movement consisting largely of holdover prospects from the era of former general manager Jim Hendry, the question begs an answer: Did team president Theo Epstein give up on the Three C’s too soon?

‘‘I think so,’’ Cashner said this month. ‘‘I mean, look how good of a year Colvin’s having this year. He’s swinging the bat really well.’’

After hitting 20 homers and driving in 56 runs as a rookie, Colvin began second-guessing himself last season and eventually was sent down to Class AAA Iowa after hitting .150 with six homers and 20 RBI in 80 games.

While it could be argued that Colvin needed a change of scenery, the Cubs got little in return in the now-injured Stewart. Colvin, meanwhile, isn’t playing every day for the Rockies, but he is hitting .287 with 14 homers and 52 RBI.

Colvin admitted he put too much emphasis on hitting for power last season because he thought that’s how he’d stay in the big leagues.

‘‘It puts some fresh ideas in your head,’’ Colvin said of starting over with a new team. ‘‘You can start with a clean slate. When I got traded, that’s the first thing they told me: ‘Let’s go back to work and get back to the guy you are.’ It really helped out.’’

Cashner made the Cubs’ rotation out of spring training last season and pitched well in his first start before a shoulder injury prompted a lengthy rehab. Although the Padres plan on making him a starter, he has pitched primarily out of the bullpen this season while battling more injuries.

‘‘I was definitely surprised when I was traded, just because there’s not a lot of pitching in the minor leagues,’’ Cashner said of the Cubs’ farm system. ‘‘But I kind of thought there was a chance I could get traded after DJ [LeMahieu] and Ty got traded. That’s kind of the way things go.’’

Cashner said he never so much as talked with Epstein or general manager Jed Hoyer before he was deal to the Padres. That proves how quickly a building block can become trade bait.

‘‘I wasn’t one of their guys,’’ Cashner said. ‘‘I was one of Jim’s guys. It’s just kind of the way they do things as far as wanting their guys in there.’’

Contributing: Gordon Wittenmyer

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