Rockies tell Ian Stewart “we’re not going to trade you”

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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.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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