Ian Stewart played third base for the Cubs for about a third of 2012, then went on the disabled list and had wrist surgery, all paid for by the Cubs. He didn't stick around with the team during the DL stint, though, to be fair, his wife had a baby during this period.
Even with all that, the Cubs signed him to a non-guaranteed contract which became guaranteed for $2 million during spring training, even though Stewart was injured -- not the wrist this time, but a quad injury -- which prevented him from playing in any spring-training games.
He was on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa, during which he went 4-for-44 (.091) with 16 strikeouts. Rehab assignments have to end after a certain length, so the Cubs activated him from the DL last Friday and optioned him to Iowa. Then this happened, writes Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:
Players who have been optioned to the minors have 72 hours to report, meaning Stewart had until Monday night. He didn’t play over the weekend, apparently taking his time off. Texts to him and a call to his agent went unreturned.
Sure, the CBA allows this, but... does this make you look good to management? Here's what Jed Hoyer had to say:
"We had a lot of discussions with him about it, in the end that was the decision," Hoyer said cryptically. "He has the right, it’s the given right the players have and that was the decision."
Doesn't sound like Hoyer was too happy, and I can't blame him. Stewart might still have talent, and might still be able to play major-league baseball, but with this kind of attitude, why would you want him on your team? Further, Luis Valbuena has been playing quite well at third base, not that he's any long-term solution, but for now, the Cubs don't need Stewart.
About 20 percent of the season is gone, which means the Cubs owe Stewart approximately $1.6 million. They have to pay him that no matter what he does. In my view, they should just cut him a check and tell him to go home, and DFA him. I don't know Ian Stewart personally, of course, and don't know his motivations, but it sure looks like he's got an "it's all about me" attitude. The Cubs could use that 40-man roster spot for someone who actually wants to play baseball.