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Rockies “always planned” to keep Ian Stewart for 2012

Nov 21, 2011, 4:46 PM EDT

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By trading Ty Wigginton last night the Rockies seemingly increased their odds of keeping Ian Stewart around for 2012, but general manager Dan O’Dowd told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that they “always planned on tendering” Stewart a contract.

Stewart spent much of this season at Triple-A despite being a 27-year-old with 1,400 career plate appearances in the majors. He also hit just .156 in 48 games for the Rockies while earning $2.3 million and will be in line for at least that much via the arbitration process.

Stewart is much better than he showed this season, but investing $3 million in his getting back on track is a questionable decision given that he’s a career .236 hitter with a .751 OPS despite calling Coors Field home. If the Rockies indeed retain Stewart and he flops again they have Jordan Pacheco waiting in the wings with top prospect Nolan Arenado potentially ready by midseason.

  1. tuloisgod - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Having watched Stewart being touted as a future star … for what, four years now? … it’s apparent that he’s not now nor will he ever be even a solid third baseman in the Major Leagues. The guy has a huge, loopy swing, chases way too many curves and lets way too many belt-high fastballs split the plate without swinging. I suspect some of it has become mental with him, but he’s never hit for high enough average or with enough power to justify being a starter. But what about his defense, you ask? Overrated in the first place, and not nearly enough to compensate for his shortcomings at the plate. Wish the Rockies would just cut him free and hope that Pacheco or Arenado make the leap.

  2. Joe - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    Will he be in line for at least $2.3 million? I thought the Rockies could tender up to a 20% pay cut, so about $1.9 million. I can’t believe that Stewart would file for much of a raise after last season, especially given that an arbitor isn’t likely to find him worth it and would probably go with the team’s offer.

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