Former Chicago Cubs prospect Tyler Colvin has finally emerged as a productive big-league hitter. Unfortunately, for Chicago, Colvin's renaissance came after an offseason trade to Colorado.
The 26-year-old Colvin was dealt along with infielder D.J. LeMahieu to the Rockies last December for third baseman Ian Stewart and pitcher Casey Weathers. Colvin responded positively to the change in scenery and is posting his best offensive season for the Rockies. Colvin has already slammed 15 home runs, knocked in 56, and has an impressive .880 OPS in 103 games with Colorado.
Chicago mismanaged Colvin from the start. Then-manager Lou Piniella insisted on keeping Colvin on the club's opening-day roster to start the 2010 season. Colvin had an impressive spring training and the Cubs desperately needed some left-handed power. The Cubs already had outfielders Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, and Kosuke Fukudome under long-term contracts -- meaning that the young Colvin was left to ride the bench. Colvin hit 20 home runs and posted a .816 OPS, despite irregular playing time as a rookie. The promising outfielder suffered a gruesome season-ending injury when he was struck in the chest by a broken bat, which resulted in a collapsed lung.
Colvin returned from the injury in 2011, but he was never quite the same. He got off to a horrendous start with the Cubs and was sent to Triple-A Iowa to regain his swing. Colvin finished the 2011 season with a dismal .506 OPS in 80 games for the Cubs.
Theo Epstein and Chicago's new front office regime dealt Colvin to Colorado for Stewart in what was billed as a swap of disappointing former prospects. While Colvin emerged as an offensive force for the Rockies, the Cubs weren't so fortunate. Stewart bombed as the replacement for Aramis Ramirez at the hot corner in Chicago. Stewart hit just .201 in 55 games with the Cubs before succumbing to season-ending wrist surgery in July. The rebuilding Cubs would certainly like to turn back the clock on the ill-fated Colvin for Stewart swap.
*Information gathered from http://www.baseball-reference.com.