Ian Stewart has been Colorado’s starting third baseman since mid-2008, turned 26 years old earlier this month, and has more than 1,300 career plate appearances in the majors, but today the Rockies demoted him to Triple-A following a 2-for-26 start.
Stewart missed time during spring training with knee and hamstring injuries and started just five of Colorado’s first 16 games, but he’s presumably healthy given that the Rockies could have instead placed him on the disabled list and sent him out on a minor-league rehab assignment.
What makes the move doubly odd is that Stewart has been replaced at third base with Jose Lopez, who’s hitting just .188 with a .537 OPS in 13 games and was absolutely awful for the Mariners last season. Another option at third base, Ty Wigginton, is hitting .200 with a .539 OPS.
Stewart has plenty of flaws, but demoting him to the minors due to a slow start in sporadic playing time when he has 1,300 plate appearances of track record to go on and the alternatives aren’t any better seems awfully strange.
The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.
Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.
Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.