With yesterday’s signing of Brad Hawpe the Rockies have now locked up five young players through at least 2010 over the past 14 months. Impressive. The Denver Post says Garrett Atkins would be "the next logical candidate" for a deal, but that his situation continues to be complicated by Ian Stewart, who the Rockies are attempting to move over to second to avoid a logjam.
Naturally Matt Holliday‘s name came up in light of the Hawpe signing, but owner Dick Monfort tried to keep that at bay, calling the situation "a different animal, not related to these contracts."
This spring training is Stewart’s third with the team. He started and played four innings at second today, but didn’t have anything hit his way. He’s battling Jeff Baker, Omar Quintanilla, Jayson Nix, Clint Barmes, and Marcus Giles for the starting job in what should be one of the more interesting position battles this spring. Nix may have the edge, but the team would love for Stewart to help them avoid the Atkins question altogether by making a smooth transition.