Last week manager Jim Tracy told reporters that Ian Stewart was “either going to play his way in or play his way off the team” and then yesterday, after benching him for two of the four games since, the Rockies demoted Stewart back to Triple-A.
Even before the latest demotion to the minors I wrote that Colorado shopping Stewart made sense for both sides if they no longer believed in the 26-year-old third baseman because of 50 bad plate appearances following three productive seasons.
Sending a 26-year-old with a .761 OPS in 405 games as a big leaguer to Triple-A for the second time this season seemingly made a trade even more likely, but Stewart told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post that the Rockies don’t have that in their plans:
They said, “We’re not going to trade you.” They still feel like I can be a big part of the organization. But it’s like Tracy said, it’s time to fish or cut bait, so we’ll see. I don’t get the sense they’re just ready to let me go at the snap of a finger. I get the sense they still believe in me and they feel like I can help this organization out this year.
Hopefully it goes the right way because I don’t want to go anywhere else. This is where all my friends are. It’s everything I know.
All of which sounds good in theory, except the Rockies have now demoted Stewart to Triple-A twice this season and he’s only had a total of 53 plate appearances in the majors. No matter how much he’s struggled in those 53 plate appearances–and he’s been terrible, to be sure–that’s certainly not an example of believing in a player or even giving him a chance to “fish or cut bait.”
Asking a 26-year-old veteran to knock around Triple-A pitching in between sporadic playing time in the majors isn’t doing much of anything, so perhaps the Rockies should take their own “fish or cut bait” advice with Stewart.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.
Update (7:05 PM EST): The Rays and Dodgers have both announced the trade.
Update (6:57 PM EST): That was fast. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports the two sides have agreed to the trade. Forsythe for De Leon. An announcement is expected shortly.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Dodgers and Rays are “deep into discussions” on a trade involving second baseman Logan Forsythe. Passan adds that the two sides have discussed pitcher Jose De Leon — the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect — as part of the return for Forsythe, but it’s unclear if he’s in the deal currently being discussed.
Forsythe, 30, hit a productive .264/.333/.444 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI in 567 plate appearances in 2016. He was even better the year before, finishing with an .804 OPS. Forsythe can fill the Dodgers’ obvious need at second base, but he also has experience playing third base, first base, shortstop, and corner outfield.
Forsythe is entering the second year of his two-year, $10.25 million contract extension with the Rays. He’ll earn $5.75 million in 2017 and his controlling team has an $8.5 million club option with a $1 million buyout for the 2018 season.