Casey Blake's bushy beard and too-good-to-be-true nickname couldn't save him from being axed by the Colorado Rockies. The 38 year old third baseman was released by the Rockies today due to his dismal Spring Training performance. Blake's departure makes room for players such as Jordan Pacheco, Chris Nelson, and Jonathan Herrera. I wish I could add Nolan Arenado's name to the list, but he also had a lack-luster spring and will probably end up starting the season in AA. Pacheco has had an explosive spring, and I would give him the initial shot to man the hot corner come opening day with Jonathan Herrera a close second. I would choose Pacheco over Herrera because of Pacheco's ability to draw walks and his improved plate discipline. Pacheco will fit nicely into the eighth spot in the batting order, and should be able to fine tune his swing with the amount a good pitches he'll see batting in front of the pitcher. The only concern with Pacheco is his defense, but it will be easier for him to grow at third base with Troy Tulowitzki backing him up to his left.
I'm sure Jim Tracy will have a three player platoon at the position, but I would much rather see someone get the shot and stick with them until either they falter, or Arenado proves that he's ready to take over the position for good.
Ian Stewart, is having a decent spring training with the Chicago Cubs and is set to be their opening day third baseman. The Cubs are raving about his defense and power. Stewart credits his recent successes on being allowed to play to his strengths (pulling the ball 450 feet), instead of being forced to hit the ball the other way, which is what Colorado coaches were having him do last season. I'm excited to see what Stewart will be able to do with the change of scenery and confidence boost. I have a sneaky feeling that this will be the year that he finally breaks out and becomes the 30 homer/100 RBI guy that everyone expected him to be in Colorado.