Third baseman Ian Stewart and the Cubs are on the verge of working out an arrangement for Stewart to leave the organization, people familiar with the situation said. This comes two weeks after he expressed frustration with his situation via a couple of revealing tweets.
The resolution allowing him to move to another organization is expected to come within a couple of days.
It isn't known what financial concessions, if any, are being made, but Stewart's contract is guaranteed, so he has no obligation or even impetus to give back money to the team, beyond his desire to move on. Stewart's contract with the Cubs is worth $2 million; he has about $1 million left on it.
Stewart was suspended without pay two weeks ago after posting a couple of tweets on his account expressing his dissatisfaction with his status as a minor leaguer. Some of the tweets appeared to be responses to fans wondering why he was in Triple-A.
Stewart tweeted, "there going to let me Rott in AA all season then non tender me after.''
Stewart also tweeted, "I think Dale doesn't like me and He's running the show.''
Cubs manager Dale Sveum denied a dislike for Stewart.
Stewart, a former first-round pick of the Colorado Rockies, had been seen going into spring training as the favorite to be the Cubs' starting third baseman. But he suffered a quad injury early in spring training, and after a rehab stint in which he hit .091, the Cubs optioned him to Iowa.
In another tweet, he explained why he was sticking it out with the Cubs, saying, "why would i quit? I'm making 2 mill in AAA like u would give that up by quitting.''
Later, Stewart's agent Larry Reynolds said Stewart apologized to the Cubs for venting his frustrations in that manner. And Stewart tweeted, "I let my frustrations get the best of me and in now way want to be a distraction.''
It had become clear by that point, though, that Stewart was hoping to be released so he could try to hook on with another organization. Part of one tweet had read, "They might as well release me. I have no shot of a callup.''
Sveum did express his unhappiness with Stewart's venting. It probably didn't help that Stewart was hitting .168 with five home runs at Iowa while two other Cubs third basemen -- Luis Valbuena, who has played most often, and Cody Ranson -- have done more than expected; Cubs third basemen are ninth in baseball with a .780 OPS and tied for second in the National League with 12 home runs.
Cubs president Theo Epstein has said the team would try to work out the particulars of a release, and it seems that's what they're about to accomplish.