Garrett Atkins Rumors
Unlike the Red Sox and Rockies, who may try to avoid making a trade to replace their injured infielders, the Phillies are "trying like hell" to find an infield bat, writes ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. Stark breaks down the Phillies' options and shares some Cliff Lee rumors in a new blog entry:
- Enough teams are interested in Ty Wigginton that the Orioles can be patient in their attempts to get maximum value for him. The Phillies, on the other hand, need an infielder now, so they'll either have to meet Baltimore's asking price or look elsewhere.
- A scout tells Stark that some people in the Phils' organization like Jose Lopez "a lot."
- The Phillies have never been overly interested in Garrett Atkins, and that hasn't changed now that he has become available.
- Kelly Johnson, Jhonny Peralta, Jose Bautista, and Miguel Tejada are also possibilities to varying degrees for Philadelphia.
- The Phils don't want to move Domonic Brown, Jarred Cosart, Anthony Gose, or Trevor May for an infielder, but would discuss anyone except Brown for a top starting pitcher.
- The Reds "are more interested than they're letting on" in Lee, while the Yankees also continue to monitor the Mariners' left-hander.
- The Rangers and Dodgers would love to acquire Lee, but would have to give up a slew of prospects to avoid taking on his salary.
- According to Stark, there have even been rumblings that the Rays could be a match for the M's ace if they were willing to move B.J. Upton.
Garrett Atkins, recently designated for assignment by the Orioles, is headed home to California to wait out his fate. MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli spoke to the corner infielder, who would be willing to sign a minor league deal with a new club. Ghiroli notes that interested teams would wait until after he clears waivers. Atkins is not thinking about retirement.
Atkins, 30, signed a one-year, $4.5MM deal with the Orioles on December 22nd after being non-tendered by the Rockies. The signing was considered one of the worst of the offseason in our March executive poll. Having logged 152 plate appearances with a .214/.276/.286 line in 2010, Atkins' stock has only dropped further.
Atkins told Ghiroli that he is ready to move on from the Orioles. However, he told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that he would consider playing in the minors for another organization. That approach worked for Pat Burrell, who is hitting well for the Giants after a stint in their minor league system.
Links for Friday night, as Edwin Jackson tosses a 149-pitch no-hitter against his former team....
- Madison Bumgarner was scratched from tonight's Triple-A start, fueling speculation that the Giants would call him up to start tomorrow's game. However, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that the team still plans to start Joe Martinez tomorrow, with Bumgarner as the backup option.
- In his weekly appearance on WEEI's Big Show, Peter Gammons discusses the Red Sox' bullpen issues and the best one-year signing of this past offseason.
- Bill Ladson of MLB.com wonders if the Nationals will be interested in the recently DFA'd Chad Tracy, given Tracy's connection to Nats GM Mike Rizzo.
- Although it looks as if the Rangers won't be able to afford Roy Oswalt, you can add Texas to the list of teams the pitcher would be willing to play for, according to the Dallas Morning News. Oswalt has previously said he'd accept a trade to anywhere he could contend.
- Garrett Atkins tells MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter link) that being released by the Orioles would be a "welcome opportunity." It appears as though Atkins will soon be designated for assignment.
- Following a blow-up during today's game, Carlos Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely by the Cubs, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. When Zambrano returned to the Cubs' rotation, we discussed Tom Gorzelanny as a trade chip, but as long as Zambrano remains suspended, that possibility looks less likely.
- The Astros signed their second-round pick, right-hander Vincent Velasquez, per a team release.
- Dusty Baker says Gary Matthews Jr. "has got to get his act together" before the outfielder earns a shot at the Reds' big league lineup, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
- According to Fangraphs' Dave Cameron, Kevin Millwood is what Carl Pavano was at last year's trade deadline --- a veteran starter whose high ERA hides some good peripheral numbers.
- Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times thinks the Mariners' hitting problems aren't to be blamed on Safeco Field.
- CSNBayArea.com's Mychael Urban has some hot-stove speculation about the Giants and A's, including hinting at "a major shakeup" coming to the Oakland roster.
- Adam Dunn tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he doesn't want to be traded.
- Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com calls the Orioles' trade for Jake Fox "pretty much the nail in the coffin" for Garrett Atkins' playing time and possibly his tenure in Baltimore altogether. Ghiroli guesses that Atkins could be designated for assignment by as soon as Saturday when Brad Bergesen is ready to return to the majors.
- John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Giants utilityman Mark DeRosa will undergo wrist surgery and will miss the rest of the season (Twitter link). San Francisco signed DeRosa to a two-year, $12MM contract in December that was criticized as too costly given DeRosa's age (35) and the fact that he underwent wrist surgery last November. DeRosa has since said that the first surgery didn't solve his wrist problems, thus accounting for his .537 OPS this season.
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer thinks the Reds will pick up a reliever before the trade deadline (via Twitter).
- Outfielder/first baseman David Winfree has signed a minor-league deal with Seattle, tweets Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune. Winfree was playing for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in Scranton before being released last week.
- The Sports Bank blog looks at some of Chicago's options if the White Sox indeed try to acquire a left-handed hitter.
The key to the Rays' success so far has been their pitching staff, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, who praises Tampa Bay for playing so well despite a few slumping bats. Cafardo says that it may be hard for the club to add another piece or two before the trade deadline, since their budget is already maxed out. However, Cafardo acknowledges that with Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena facing free agency, the Rays may go all-out this year and stretch their budget a little in hopes of winning a championship. Here are some of Cafardo's other notes:
- After this season, David Ortiz is probably "done in Boston unless he takes a massive pay cut." Ortiz might have trouble catching on anywhere next year, since there's virtually no market for one-dimensional players, and he may not be willing to accept a role similar to Jason Giambi's in Colorado.
- If Ortiz and Victor Martinez continue to hit, the Red Sox are very unlikely to pursue Chris Iannetta.
- One of the winter's most disappointing new additions has been Garrett Atkins, who is homerless and sports a .221/.261/.283 slash line in 119 plate appearances. The Orioles will have to consider releasing him if he doesn't turn things around.
- The Rangers are looking for a starting pitcher and a productive right-handed bat. A Rangers official tells Cafardo that he'd still love to see Mike Lowell in Texas.
- Cafardo thinks that if the Red Sox fall out of playoff contention and become sellers, they could replenish their farm system, acquiring multiple players for Martinez, Lowell, Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro, and Jeremy Hermida. I'm less optimistic than Cafardo about the caliber of talent the Sox could land for most of those guys.
Assuming the Orioles choose to buy Garrett Atkins out for $500K instead of paying him $8.5MM next year, he'll hit the free agent market once again. This time, he and his agent will have a harder time securing a guaranteed contract, unless Atkins' production surges.
That's not out of the question for the 30-year-old, even though he's hitting .227/.261/.291 without any home runs. Atkins, who makes a base salary of $4MM this year, hit at a nearly identical clip (.194/.270/.285) through the first two months of last season before posting a more respectable .254/.341/.392 line for the remainder of the season. That improvement, plus the not-so-distant memory of his 2006-08 production added up to a $4.5MM payday for Atkins.
This year, he'll need a more pronounced second-half surge to obtain that kind of guarantee. It's been a while since he was a difference-maker at the plate and his defense is below average, according to UZR. Atkins is in the lineup for now, since Rhyne Hughes hasn't hit as well as the Orioles would like. But Andy MacPhail recently told Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun that the O's will continue looking at internal and external options as the club attempts to find more production at first base.
If the Orioles don't replace Atkins and he rebounds this season, he could find a modest one-year deal this winter. If he loses playing time, he'll have a hard time signing more than a minor league deal this offseason. And if the Orioles release him, there's no guarantee another team would have a roster spot for Atkins.
As the Mariners' offense continues to struggle, they're likely looking to make deals with teams that have rapidly fallen out of contention, writes Larry Stone of The Seattle Times. Stone writes that the teams falling into that category are the Royals, Indians, Astros, and Orioles.
Kansas City's Jose Guillen has been mentioned as a possibility for the M's, though as of yesterday they have reportedly yet to make a formal inquiry. Lance Berkman of the Astros has been mentioned as a fit for Seattle, though Stone points to his health, salary, and poor performance this season as reasons why Jack Zduriencik would want to steer clear of him.
Stone suggests that Baltimore could offer up Luke Scott or Garrett Atkins, though they have been struggling mightily. On the flipside, Ty Wigginton and Miguel Tejada are in the final years of their respective deals and could be available at some point, though they have been hitting well for an O's team that desperately needs offense.
Austin Kearns and ex-Mariner Russell Branyan could be pried away from the Indians (especially Branyan), but Stone says to "forget about" Cleveland dealing Grady Sizemore. Moving the reasonably-priced star outfielder would be a PR nightmare for a club that has made of a habit of losing their marquee players in recent years.
Stone also says to keep an eye on Hank Blalock, who is hitting quite well in the International League and has an out-clause in his deal with the Rays. However, the M's passed on the two-time All-Star this winter.
Also hampering Seattle is that GMs from around baseball seem unwilling to make trades at this point in the season.
What other sluggers could you see the Mariners inquiring on? Will they be able to talk a GM into making a significant trade with them at this juncture?
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is on the verge of making roster changes to shake up his struggling offense, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles dropped to 7-21 today, and their lineup hasn't lived up to expectations this season.
"There is going to come a time where we’re going to be obligated to keep making changes in terms of offensive personnel," MacPhail said. "I would say there isn’t a great deal of time left before they have to start doing more than what they’re doing now. I’m not staying with them forever. It’s not a suicide pact. They either have to start performing or they’ll go to [Triple-A] Norfolk."
Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik talked this week about a similar need for offensive production, but while Zduriencik's Mariners are hoping to be buyers, the Orioles, already 13 games out of first place, are more likely to be sellers. Still, MacPhail's comments suggest that if the club elects to make changes, it will probably mean players being demoted rather than traded.
Buster Olney's latest blog entry at ESPN.com focuses on Ryan Braun, who Olney thinks could eventually take over Albert Pujols' title of the National League's best hitter. The article also includes a few hot-stove notes....
- Olney hears from talent evaluators that the trade market for starting pitching probably won't really develop for at least another month or two. Unless they can dump salary, teams likely won't be looking to move any starters quite yet. Derek Lowe and his $15MM price tag are mentioned as a potential salary dump.
- The Royals haven't put Juan Cruz on waivers yet, meaning he'll probably be placed there Monday and clear on Wednesday. Olney speculates that the Cubs, in need of a setup man, could kick the tires on Cruz.
- As the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly suggested last night, Garrett Atkins' job could already be in jeopardy after Rhyne Hughes' promotion. When MLBTR talked to baseball execs in March about offseason moves, the Orioles' signing of Atkins was nominated as one of the worst.
- Olney says the perception around the league is that owner Tom Hicks is creating roadblocks for the sale of the Rangers in the hopes of securing more cash. Because of complications with the sale, baseball's other owners will likely have to throw in more money.
Links for Saturday..
- Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News notes all of the roster turnover the Rangers have already experienced this season.
- Ian Browne of MLB.com (via Twitter) says that outfielder Jonathan Van Every is being placed on the 40-man roster so that Josh Reddick can get more at-bats in the minors.
- Angels catcher Bobby Wilson was on the receiving end of a violent collision at the plate on Friday, writes Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. With Wilson and Jeff Mathis sidelined, the Angels likely won't be able to move one of their catchers anytime soon.
- Ramon Ortiz was essentially auditioning to keep his job with the Dodgers on Friday night, says Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
- Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun writes that the promotion of Rhyne Hughes could mean a reduced role for starting first baseman Garrett Atkins.