Emil Brown Rumors

Angels Interested In Garrett Atkins

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.

Too Many Outfielders In KC

The Royals have a Cub-like situation – five outfielders.  You’ve got the injury-prone guy who still might have something left (Cliff Floyd/Reggie Sanders), the rookie stud who needs to play every day (Felix Pie/Billy Butler), the developing, pre-arb solid guy (Matt Murton/Mark Teahen), and the veteran league average guy (Jacque Jones/Emil Brown).  I couldn’t think of a clever link between Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus though.

Since the injury-prone guy is often on the DL, that leaves the Jones/Brown type as the one to trade.  The Cubs haven’t had any luck finding the right deal for Jones, though.  And the Royals would probably have to eat most of Brown’s contract to move him.  Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star says a release is possible.

The Royals at least have the DH spot to fill the gaps, if and when Mike Sweeney lands on the DL.  But I still don’t get the Butler call-up.  Unlike the Cubs, the Royals don’t have a shot at the playoffs.  Their outfield doesn’t need Butler’s defense.  Why start his clock early?  It would’ve made more sense to play Brown every day in left and hope for a couple of 3 HR, 15 RBI type months from him.  Then you find a little more desperate team in June or July and get a decent arm in return.  Now that Butler’s up, there’s no chance to build up Brown’s trade value.

Royals Trade Rumors

I received a request for some Royals action here at MLBTR.  I thought to myself, who better to fill us in than Craig Brown of Royals Authority and Heater Magazine?  Craig obliged, and his Royals trade rumor update follows.

It’s a new season, but the results are the same in Kansas City as once again the Royals are struggling to win games in April.  The slow start means trade talk will begin sooner rather than later.  But despite the struggles, the Royals feel they’re headed in the right direction with a solid nucleus of young ballplayers.  The trade options will be limited to the few remaining veterans on the roster.

As the season rolls on, more and more teams will be paying attention to Reggie Sanders.  Sanders, who was linked to a deal with the Orioles in spring training, is off to a good start in a part time role hitting .391/.440/.696.  Although the Baltimore deal fizzled out, there’s still some interest as the Orioles would like to add a right-handed power bat to their thin bench.  Sanders has no problem coming off the bench, but would like to do it for a contender.  Other teams that could be in the market include Toronto, St. Louis or even the Angels.

Other than Sanders, it’s been relatively dry on the rumor front.  But keep an eye on Emil Brown.  Another member of the Royals crowded outfield, Brown will come cheap (he’s due $3.4 million for 2007) and has a consistent track record over the last two seasons.  He’s gained a reputation as a defensive liability, so he could appeal to a contender looking for a right-handed bat for the bench.  If the Royals are asking too much for Sanders, Brown could be Plan B.

One name that seems to come up in trade rumors every year is Mike Sweeney.  Unfortunately, Iron Mike’s bad back and hefty salary have put the kibosh on any prospective deal.  He’s stayed healthy so far (no small feat) but has struggled at the plate, hitting just .162/.238/.162.  At this point, it looks like he’ll play out the season in Kansas City before hitting the free agent market this winter.  If Sweeney gets dealt, it will be to a team in the AL since his back keeps him off the field.

Don’t look for any deals that include the Royals giving up any pitching.  GM Dayton Moore’s first priority since taking the job last summer has been restocking the team and system with arms.  He’s made some progress, but it’s still a thin staff and with pitching at a premium, it wouldn’t make sense for the Royals to let go of any of their pitchers.

By Craig Brown of Royals Authority and Heater Magazine