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Ian Stewart and Rockies avoid arbitration with one-year deal

Ian Stewart, Carlos Gonzalez

Colorado Rockies Ian Stewart, right, congratulates Carlos Gonzalez after he scored the winning run in the 10th inning in a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010. The Rockies defeated the Giants 10-9. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

AP

Ian Stewart and the Rockies have avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.23 million deal that nearly splits the difference between the $2.6 million figure he submitted and the team’s $2.15 million counter.

It’s actually about $140,000 short of the exact midway point, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Stewart can earn an additional $72,500 in incentives based on playing time.

Colorado has signed Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez to massive long-term deals this offseason, but it’s no surprise that they’re choosing to go year-to-year with Stewart. He’s yet to build on a strong rookie campaign in 2007, posting an OPS below .800 in each of the past two seasons, and has hit just .239 away from Coors Field.

He’s under the Rockies’ control for two more seasons as an arbitration eligible player, but 2011 could be a make-or-break year for Stewart in Colorado.