Tuesday, October 30, 2007
It appears that the Rockies are still content on trading Garrett Atkins for some solid pitching, and if they do, they will have a big whole at the position. However, the Rockies and Kazuo Matsui are working towards a new deal and if they can get it done soon, Matsui could be used to recruit some of the newest Japanese imports, especially Tomohiro Nioka. I do not think Stewart should get the Opening Day nod at third base. Yes, he is very capable and will be a great ball player, but you have to look at examples from this season and work from there. You bring in someone like Nioka and platoon him around the infield and let Stewart get his swing down at Triple-A. Then when the Rockies feel he is ready, ease him into the starting role. Ryan Braun is a perfect example of what I am suggesting. Braun spent a month down at Triple-A and was called up at the end of May. After his call up, he dominated the league and is up for the Rookie of the Year. Now look at Royals third baseman Alex Gordon. Gordon got the Opening Day nod and struggled finishing the year batting .247 with 15 HR and 60 RBI. Hopefully, it does not effect his career but I think the Rockies should take this into consideration. Nioka is a veteran in Japan and batted .295 with 20 HR and 83 RBI. I expect him to be like Akinori Iwamura if he comes over, and he would not cost too much. Other than the Rockies, I expect the White Sox and Pirates to be most interested.