Ian Stewart’s nightmare season ended in early August because of a wrist injury and Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies third baseman has yet to resume “baseball activity.”
Stewart told Renck that his wrist “is good” and he’s been lifting weights, but likely won’t be cleared to swing a bat before next week.
Even if Stewart were healthy he’d be a non-tender candidate after hitting just .156 in 48 games while spending part of the season in the minors following a demotion to Triple-A at age 26, and the wrist problems make the Rockies even more likely to cut him loose.
Stewart was once Colorado’s third baseman of the future, but through 436 games he’s hit just .236 with a .751 OPS despite calling Coors Field home and would be in line for at least $2.5 million next season via the arbitration process. If another team still sees upside in Stewart they could swoop in and pick him up in a trade, but Renck reports that the Rockies turned down a deal for him in July from the Diamondbacks.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.