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.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.