Atkins Shows Offensive Life

June 27, 2009 | 6:26 am | 22  

Garrett Atkins has responded to starts as the DH in the last two games. A key offensive factor for the Rockies the last four years, Atkins has had back-to-back three-hit games. He is 9-for-17 in his last five starts.

That is a good sign because:

1. The combination of Atkins and Ian Stewart at third base gives the Rockies offensive depth.

2. Atkins should be back at third base on a regular basis.

3. Atkins would give the Rockies a quality bat off the bench.

4. Atkins will create more of a possibility of another team having interest in acquiring him.

5. Another answer.

It’s your call. What do you think?


  • Matt F. | June 27, 2009 | 8:03 am

    #4. At this point I believe it’s Stewart’s job to lose. The Rockies still need to bulk up their middle relief staff. I’d be surprised if O’dowd didn’t make a move with Atkins by the end of July.

  • Agbayani | June 27, 2009 | 8:43 am

    I think the answer is a combination of 1 in the short term (Atkins and Stewart splitting 3B duties) and 4 (increased trade interest in Atkins) longer term. Tracy had been moving toward a Stewart-Atkins platoon at 3B, probably with Stewart also coming in as a defensive sub late when the Rockies have the lead. I like that combination.

    Atkins, career vs RHP: 800 OPS
    vs. LHP: 883 OPS

    Ian Stewart shows a reverse split: better against LHP. But we’re talking about a pretty small sample there, and studies show that reverse splits (unlike ordinary platoon splits) are rarely a real phenomenon. I think that’s what we have here. But we also probably have a guy who shows no platoon splits at all. With that in mind:

    Overall Stewart career OPS: 774

    So the best shot at getting the best production at 3B (offense + defense) would be the kind of platoon Tracy is using.

    Another example (his use of Spilly is another) of how, so far at least, Tracy seems to have a very good handle on the talent base on this club and how to maximize it.

  • Dave | June 27, 2009 | 8:44 am

    Tracy – I haven’t talked to that many GMs in recent weeks (well, maybe once in awhile I yell at my old Impala). Who out there needs a third basemen and what pitchers do they have to swap us in return?


  • Karl | June 27, 2009 | 8:45 am

    #4 for the long term, #1 for the next 5 weeks. I wonder if Atkins won’t get all the lefty’s and start at third and then perhaps the extra sunday start at 1st too. So perhaps 3-4 starts a week to stay in rotation more.

    I say #4 because I don’t see the team trying to hold onto him. That’s changed for me as the season has progressed and the economics of the Rockies. I still like the consistency of contact and power of Atkins swing and see him as a valuable player that a good relief arm should be recv’d in return if not a 4th starter from a team that has potential and controllability for a few years.

    This could all change if any injuries occur really at any of the seven positions to affect the need to retain him for the year. We need to be patient with the trade market and just enjoy the run. It is fun to hypothesize though the end of the deadline.

  • Robb | June 27, 2009 | 9:01 am

    While I think it is really good to have a RH hitter in the middle of the line-up somewhere, trading Atkins probably makes the most sense if they can get something for him. With Speier due back soon, hopefully, and Corpas supposedly due back a little later, their bullpen could be pretty set. Maybe Embree is released? Anyhow, I would hang onto Atkins and Spilly both for the time being even though it makes sense to trade one of them for a veteran starter. Things have a way of working themselves out over the course of the season.

    Tracy: Any chance the Rockies look at signing someone like Paul Byrd or even Pedro Martinez as a 5th starter? A veteran pitcher could make a big differnce down the stretch, especially with DLR’s inconsistency.

  • Agbayani | June 27, 2009 | 9:44 am

    Robb, I think the best move this club could make would be to obtain a decent (think: Marquis type) starter and then move de la Rosa to the pen. That makes your starting staff a little stronger, and improves the bullpen as you have a guy with swing-and-miss stuff (particularly against lefties) in the pen.

    I don’t think Embree’s thrown that poorly, and right now, I’d have to consider his the second-best reliever we’ve got. So I think he needs to be worked back in to critical situations.

    Daley (dare I say I predicted it?) has returned to earth rather quickly as his BABIP luck changed. I’m glad Jim Tracy recognized that.

    Peralta showed us last night that he’ll probably continue to be an adventure. Good stuff, but really erratic. Not the kind of guy you want to hang your 8th inning hopes on, but for now, it’s matchup time with Flores, Daley, Embree and Peralta and pray you make it to Street.

    I’ve seen a couple items about the Mets asking about Atkins. I guess that would be to play 1B with Delgado out? Sad commentary on the state of the Mets …

  • Agbayani | June 27, 2009 | 9:45 am

    Oh, and as for Pedro: I’m in So Cal now, and the story here is that Angels scouts went down to the Dominican to watch him throw. They came back saying “pass.” So while I think someone will sign him, I have very little confidence in him being of any value.

  • Kenny | June 27, 2009 | 10:49 am

    It depends if the Rockies are contenders or pretenders. Stewart is clearly the third baseman of the future and playing time now will help him develop and hopefully make him more consistent next season. Bt when Atkins is on, there are few better hitters in the game. He was on fire the last couple months of the 07 season. Atkins will help the Rockies win more games now.
    The best solution is to play both. CarGo does not look at the plate. Tracy is already playing Stewart almost everyday to develop him but to also develop another hitter at the same time is just too much. So Stewart can get some starts at third while Atkins gives Helton a spell at first, he can start in left field, and he can also start at second as Barmes appears to becoming back down to earth. Tracy said starting at one position would help Stewart become more consistent and that makes some sense but so far he has still been very inconsistent and this is really the best solution for now since it allows both Atkins and Stewart to play.
    Then the Rockies can trade Atkins for a pitcher next month. There is no doubt that there will be several teams in the pennant race who would love to have Atkins’ bat.

  • Mike | June 27, 2009 | 11:46 am

    Those are all pretty good reasons, though I’d say #2 depends on Stewart. Obviously his power potential is amazing but he needs to get some consistency–he’s gone cold again after his June 1 – 7 player of the week burst.

    Some numbers to chew on (small sample size warning):

    career PA Avg OBP SLG
    Atkins 2960 .292 .356 .464
    Stewart 567 .238 .321 .453

    June PA Avg OBP SLG HR RBI
    Atkins 53 .340 .415 .553 3 8
    Stewart 89 .256 .303 .549 6 18

    June 8+ PA Avg OBP SLG HR RBI
    Atkins 24 .545 .583 .727 1 5
    Stewart 63 .158 .222 .316 2 6

  • Mike | June 27, 2009 | 11:47 am

    Dang, that formatting didn’t work out…2nd try:

    career PA Avg OBP SLG
    Atkins 2960 .292 .356 .464
    Stewart 567 .238 .321 .453

    June PA Avg OBP SLG HR RBI
    Atkins 53 .340 .415 .553 3 8
    Stewart 89 .256 .303 .549 6 18

    June 8+ PA Avg OBP SLG HR RBI
    Atkins 24 .545 .583 .727 1 5
    Stewart 63 .158 .222 .316 2 6

  • Mike | June 27, 2009 | 12:19 pm

    I suspect Atkins could help someone, but I’d guess that w/his contract situation (just one relatively expensive year of arb eligibility left after this season), the only interested party would be a contender w/a 1B, 2B or DH hole. There doesn’t seem to be that many choices. Along with the aforementioned Mets, there’s the Cubs, Cardinals and possibly Brewers for a 3B slot (they’re counting on Gamel, right?), or the Giants for a 1B/3B slot (depending on where they want to play Sandoval).

    The question is what could the Rockies get in return. It doesn’t seem like they *have* to trade him. I don’t think they’d get a DLR replacement for him, or for him + someone like Spilly. Would one of those 4 teams spare a reliever? The other alternative is prospects, in which case I think the Rockies would need to be able to flip these for a reliever or be truly impressed by them, as Atkins does still have some value to them.

  • David | June 27, 2009 | 1:22 pm

    Mostly #4 and some #3. Stewart has better power, has more baserunning speed and is a superior, higher quality defender at third. Atkins is a more consistent hitter at this point in his career but he is also 30 compared to Stewart’s 24. Stewart needs the consistency of playing everyday to be productive. The Rockies recent success coincides when Stewart started playing everyday under Tracy instead of the inconsistent Hurdle. Stewart, while streaky, will develop consistency with regular playing time within the next year.

    Atkins gives the Rockies some insurance against Todd Helton’s back but so does Jeff Baker, and ultimately, the Rockies are in dear need of Bullpen help and he should be dealt while he has value. With Buckholtz being done, Grilli/Rusch/Corpas all disappointing, the Rockies need stronger relief pitching in the 7th and 8th innings. Ryan Madson has a live arm and is not a closer, but is an experienced set up guy that would bolster the back of the bullpen. Both Atkins and Spilborghs have an interest with the Phillies. Pedro Feliz is not going to continue hitting .300. The Red Sox are known to like Spilborghs and perhaps we could get an interesting middle reliever from them. The Cardinals also seem to be a fit for Atkins if Glaus doesn’t return.

    Make it Barmes at 2nd, Tulo at Short, Stewart at 3rd, and thats a solid and steady infield with incredible potential for greatness offensively and defensively. There’s your core with Hawpe for the next 3-4 years.

  • Josh L | June 27, 2009 | 3:07 pm

    You have to let Atkins get his at bats from now until the trade deadline, hoping that he bolsters his numbers and increases the return that we would get on him in a trade. Atkins is going to be very hard to resign. I think that Boston could be a good fit, with Buckholz being a nice return if Atkins stock rises high enough.
    The back of the bullpen needs help and that could be address with the trade of Atkins or Spilly. CarGo has struggled here at the beginning, but you can see that he has the tools to be a star in this league, truly a 5 tool player. I love Spilly, but he will never be better than a quality 4th or 5th outfielder and he has some value right now because there is a good market for a right handed bat.

    If the Rockies play their cards right they could strengthen the back of the rotation and the bullpen with the trading chips that seem to be heating up right at the right time, before the break.

  • Mike | June 27, 2009 | 3:44 pm

    Sorry if you’ve read me write this before, but there’s no way Boston trades Buchholz for Atkins. Buchholz in a package for Iannetta, that would interest them, but then the Rockies hang up the phone. Teams strongly value high ceiling prospects–no one wants to trade a shot at 3 dirt cheap years of all star performance for someone like Atkins. Good player, but he’s expensive now for what he provides, and he’s no longer young.

    There’s also no place for Atkins to play in Boston. Ortiz has a 1.091 OPS in June, so I think they will stick with him.

    Another team I thought of that might be interested in Atkins–Texas. They play Chris Davis at 1st, but he’s striking out in 40% of his PA’s and his OBP is well below .300. If they felt Davis needed to be replaced, they could turn to players already on the roster–move Blalock there, and slide Andruw Jones and others over to DH. But perhaps they’d be interested in Atkins.

  • Dustin | June 27, 2009 | 6:05 pm

    if atkins keeps up with the bat, giving a good enough rise in trade value I’d trade him. We need pitching help in a bad way. I think stewart will get more consistency as he progresses through his career. To me, he is the 3rd baseman of the future for the rockies and they need to deal atkins.

    here’s to hoping atkins has a good july and we get a good trade for him.

  • Joe | June 27, 2009 | 8:34 pm

    As the trade deadline begins to approach, if the Rocks are closing in on a potential wild card berth,I’d only trade him if solid pitching help is available. Otherwise, wait for the off-season and work a deal for something that helps the club take shape for the next few years…solid veteran catching, or a bonafide closer perhaps. This is a nice exciting run, but let’s see how the next 40 games go.

    Ian Stewart needs to be the #5 man for the future. For all of Garrett Atkins numbers, this team has had a recurring problem of not hitting in the clutch over the past five years. A three run homer to stretch a lead to 7 is nice, but how about with two out and down by a run when you’re on a two or three game losing skid??

  • Robb | June 27, 2009 | 9:56 pm

    Rockies heading for a big win tonight. Atkins not doing a lot, but does have a base hit. I would bet he doesn’t start tomorrow and Tracy goes with either Smith or Spilly at DH. With Cook on the mound, a series sweep is looking possible. Every once in a while Cook throws a bad game (as do all pitchers) and I hope it isn’t his next one. Go Rockies!

  • Agbayani | June 27, 2009 | 10:26 pm

    “Watching” this one on gameday internet. Did Jim Tracy just lose the DH by having Atkins play in the field? I mean, no big deal with a huge lead, but I’ve never seen a manager intentionally do that before.

  • Kody | June 27, 2009 | 10:34 pm

    I am still a bit shocked that you feel like Embree is our second best reliever Agbayani. Not a chance. Poor command and lacks a solid bullpen role.

  • Mike | June 27, 2009 | 11:38 pm

    Well, I guess we can scratch the Cardinals off the potential Atkins list…they just traded for Mark DeRosa.

  • Dylan M. | June 28, 2009 | 10:41 am

    Gotta agree with Joe..if we’re still in the Wild Card race by the trade deadline we shouldn’t trade Atkins unless we get a very solid reliever. But..maybe the Rockies have it already. Morales OR de la Rosa could be moved to the bullpen and I think either of them would be lights out with their stuff. De la Rosa would probably be a little better choice. Adam Eaton is throwing very, very good in AAA. Maybe he could replace de la Rosa? Hmm..probably too much of a question mark there. If the Rockies don’t do anything at the deadline I wouldn’t be surprised and maybe they don’t need to do anything.

    Watched the game last night..our bullpen is shaky. Embree is not our 2nd best reliever..pshhh no way. Behind Street there is not much to work with. We need Speier and Corpas back and that plus maybe moving de la Rosa to the bullpen could solidify it. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what decisions the Rockies do. GO ROCKIES!! Sweep the A’s!!

  • Redhawk | June 29, 2009 | 10:59 am

    #1 Good Offensive depth

    Atkins contract is pretty high, and teams are not wanting to take on money. His performance has yet to prove he’s valuable. A good week isn’t enough to reestablish value, especially as he’s reach the point where age decline become a concern.

    He certainly won’t bring back a pitcher that would be an upgrade over Jorge DeLaRosa. Sorry kids, that’s just unrealistic dream. In fact starting pitching is so rare out there, I could see the Rockies trading Jason Marquis while his value is at it’s peak, and going with Eaton, or Morales, or even Chacin (or Roe, or Rodgers, or Dedundo, even Hynick….see the Rockies actually have a lot Starting Pitching prospects just over the horizon!) for the playoff race.

    But I think Atkins value will be as insurance and a solid bat off the bench, because his contract and lack of performance make him near untradeable. Contract alone, if the Rockies tried to give him away, I’m not sure another team would take him.