Last year, Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins was the second-best hitter at his position, behind only Miguel Cabrera. Atkins isn't set to reach free agency until 2011, making him a very valuable commodity. The Rockies had talks with him this offseason about a deal covering his arbitration years and first year of free agency, but no agreement could be reached.
Now, both the Denver Post and L.A. Times are reporting that the Angels are interested in trading for Atkins. Troy E. Renck of the Post says Atkins's name first came up during the Winter Meetings when the two clubs were discussing a Todd Helton deal. Renck writes that Ervin Santana would be a must in any trade and that the Angels also have interest in Brad Hawpe and Jeff Baker. He also says Atkins is still considered a core member of the team, so a deal is unlikely. I wonder if Bill Stoneman is trying to take advantage of a subpar start for Atkins - his defense hasn't been pretty and his power has been MIA.
From the L.A. side, Mike DiGiovanna adds several players on the Halos' radar: Kevin Mench, Jacque Jones, Pat Burrell, Emil Brown, Morgan Ensberg, and Edwin Encarnacion. DiGiovanna agrees that Santana is the top trading chip. Santana could really blossom in the National League. With Freddy Garcia and Adam Eaton struggling and Brett Myers in the pen, the Phillies probably have the strongest need. Starters Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley could be used if the Angels want to make a smaller deal.
As long as the Angels are making an all-out blitz for a third baseman, let's speculate on some other possibilities. Mike Lowell, Chad Tracy, Hank Blalock have all been rumored in the past; the Rangers clearly have the biggest need for a starter. Santana, however, could be Brandon McCarthy all over again with his flyball tendencies.
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