Cubs cut ties with Ian Stewart
BY GORDON WITTENMYER email@example.com June 25, 2013 12:24PM
Updated: June 25, 2013 10:34PM
After securing their pound of cash, the Cubs finally gave Ian Stewart his desired release from the organization Tuesday.
The exiled third baseman chose not to challenge the club’s 10-game suspension without pay over his late-night Twitter rant this month critical of the organization – an appeal he almost certainly would have won but might have taken weeks to resolve.
And the club, having thereby recouped roughly $110,000 of Stewart’s $2 million salary, responded by granting him his unconditional release.
“Rather than go through the appeal process,” Stewart’s agent, Larry Reynolds, told the Sun-Times, “we felt the quickest way to a resolution was to either move forward with Ian playing for the Cubs or to wait for his release, which is what happened.”
Playing for the Cubs has not been an option since Stewart ticked off the front office nearly two months ago after taking his full, allowed three days to report to AAA Iowa after being optioned there following a 4-for-44 injury-rehab assignment – at Iowa.
The club waived him off the 40-man roster at that point and buried him on the bench at Iowa.
Earlier this month after Stewart engaged in candid Twitter conversation with followers regarding the organization and manager Dale Sveum, the club invoked the “loyalty clause” in the standard players’ contract to suspend him without pay.
It’s a vague, decades-old clause without the teeth to support what would have been an unprecedented penalty had an appeal been upheld.
Soon after the club’s announcement of Stewart’s release, Reynolds already had received a call from an interested team, he said, and anticipated finding a good fit for Stewart for the second half of the season.
In an earlier, prepared statement to the media, Reynolds said: “The release is probably best for all parties involved. After a lengthy rehab, Ian was starting to get back to playing the way we all had hoped.
“We will move on, and I expect that Ian, with hard work, will find himself back in the big leagues at some point in the near future.”
In a rare start barely a week before the Twitter controversy, Stewart hit three home runs in a game for Iowa, starting at first base.
The former first-round pick acquired 18 months ago from Colorado in the Tyler Colvin/DJ LeMahieu trade missed most of last season following wrist surgery.
After the Cubs release him in the off-season rather than go through the arbitration process, they re-signed him for $300,000 less than he made last year. He then missed all of spring training with a quad injury.