Two years ago, Tyler Colvin was seen as a potential franchise cornerstone. He may not have gotten as much hype as Anthony Rizzo, but there was a definite buzz surrounding the young outfielder.
But Colvin struggled to the tune of a .150 average in 2011 and the new front office felt he would do better with a change of scenery, so they dealt him to the Rockies for third baseman Ian Stewart.
A day after Colvin had four hits -- including a homer -- and five RBI, Cubs manager Dale Sveum had some bad news about Stewart, who has been on the disabled list since June 14.
Stewart had received cortisone shots in his ailing left wrist in hopes of nixing the problem, but it hasn't worked.
"The shots don't seem to be making a difference," Sveum said. "I don't know what we're going to end up doing with that, but there's not a whole lot of progress going on."
Even before the DL stint, Stewart was struggling to hit .200 and had just a .627 OPS through 55 games. The Cubs hoped he could tap into the power that helped him slug 43 homers from 2009-10, but the 27-year-old third baseman had just five dingers and 17 RBI in 179 at-bats.
Meanwhile, Stewart's replacement has given the Cubs a little life at the hot corner.
Luis Valbuena hit his third home run of the season Friday, a lined shot to the opposite field. He also played some solid defense at a position he had only played 10 times in his major-league career prior to this season.
Valbuena is only hitting .234, but has three homers and 10 RBI to go along with a .776 OPS.
"When he gets his hits, they all seem to be big hits," Svuem said. "To take the lead, to add on if we're up by one. He's done a great job. I wish we woulda had him here earlier."
With Stewart's immediate future in doubt, the Cubs have at least found a temporary answer at third base, though it could become something more for the Venezuelan native.
Given his age (26) and the new regime's willingness to provide opportunity to under-the-radar players, Valbuena has a chance to stick around.