The Arizona Diamondbacks club is rumored to be interested in Colorado Rockies infielder Ian Stewart. The 26-year-old hitter represents an intriguing buy-low option after injury and inconsistency limited him to just 48 games at the MLB level in 2011.
After spending much of the previous three years in the majors with the Rockies, Stewart spent half the season in triple-A and posted a .950 OPS. His season ended prematurely in August after a wrist injury. While playing at the MLB level, the left-handed hitter batted just .156 with an uncharacteristically low .221 slugging percentage (.428 career).
When he's performing at his peak, Stewart still doesn't hit for much of an average thanks to high strikeout totals, but he provides above-average pop and takes his fair share of walks. Defensively, he plays a respectable third base and has also dabbled at second base and the corner outfield positions.
Stewart could be a solid platoon partner for incumbent Ryan Roberts, a right-handed hitter, at third base. Roberts posted an .881 OPS against left-handed pitchers in 2011, but that rate dropped to .724 against right-handers. Stewart, on the other hand, has handled both handed pitchers fairly equally throughout his big league career and shows glimpses of tantalizing left-handed power.
Unfortunately, the club has already committed a fair bit of money (relatively speaking) to a number of low-ceiling veteran infielders including Geoff Blum, John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist. This hypothetical acquisition would likely make the soon-to-be-39-year-old Blum the odd man out. He's owed $1.35 million in 2012, in the second year of an ill-advised two-year contract.
Stewart made just shy of $2.3 million in '11 and is likely in line for a modest pay cut in his second season of arbitration. A number of teams are rumored to be interested in the former first round draft pick (2003) so it might take a B-level prospect to pry him away from Colorado. Perhaps an offer including relief prospect Ryan Cook or starter Wade Miley could jump start a deal.
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