Ian Stewart is now “an afterthought” in the Rockies’ plans

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Once upon a time Ian Stewart looked like one of the Rockies’ long-term building blocks, going from 2003 first-round pick and top-ranked prospect to starting third baseman for the past three seasons.

Then he got off to a slow start this year, the Rockies demoted him to Triple-A for two months, and even now that they’ve called him back up Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post calls Stewart “an afterthought” in the team’s plans.

Stewart is mediocre at best defensively at third base and has hit just .237 with a .757 OPS for his career despite calling Coors Field home, so at age 26 he’s hardly bursting with potential. Still, the Rockies giving up on him so abruptly is surprising and Armstrong writes that the main thing keeping Stewart from being traded is his value plummeting to the point that other teams are offering marginal value in return.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.