My affection for Ian Stewart runs deep, no matter how disappointing his tenure with the Colorado Rockies was. No matter the fact that they spent a first round pick on him, waited for him to develop, reaped what looked like the benefits in 2009 but turned out to be fool’s gold, waited some more for him to develop, passed on Evan Longoria because with Stewart and others they had “too many third basemen,” waited even more for him to develop, actually made me watch Ty Wigginton play 3rd base because they were so fed up with him, and finally felt they had no choice but to trade him. Though it seems impossible, I still love the guy.
Because of that affection, I desperately want to resist the idea that he might be labeled a bust. The news that the Chicago Cubs non-tendered him today doesn’t help. Certainly Stewart will get a look as a free agent because of his intriguing power, but it will be because a team is willing to “take a flier” on him.
Take a flier…that is the kind of language you use when you are talking about a guy who is a bust. You sign successful players to fill holes on your roster, you take fliers on guys you hope work out but whom you do not have to count on.
Stewart’s upper-cut swing has potential to be one of the most beautiful sights in all of baseball. When he connects with one of his extraordinarily high soaring home runs, it not only makes you salivate at the possibilities for Stewart. It reminds you for a moment why you love the game.
I am not exaggerating. The dude’s swing is seriously beautiful. The problem is, he seems to never make adjustments. Ever. It always seemed to baffle him that he could crowd the plate like he always had, try to pull everything like he always had, and yet these professional pitchers had the gall to not throw pitches into his swing. They had the audacity to jam him and bury pitches in the dirt. They dared to make adjustments.
Stewart never adjusted back. He now faces the distinct possibility, even with his extraordinary set of skills that includes athleticism, power, a slick glove and a strong throwing arm, of becoming a big fat bust. Hopefully another team gives him a chance and he can avoid that label…if he hasn’t earned it already.
P.S. – yes, the Rockies definitely won the Tyler Colvin for Ian Stewart trade. Just don’t tell embattled general manager Dan O’Dowd…he might say something crazy, like that he’s “one of the best GM’s in baseball” or something absurd like that.