While the big fish in the pool all seem like good fits for the Phillies vacant third base hole, the answer may be someone who could be had in a trade or become available via free agency in a couple of days.
And with all the Phillies faithful calling for the team to sign Adrian Beltre , Mark DeRosa or Chone Figgins to man the hot corner for the Phils in 2010 and beyond, I’m thinking they should go a different route.
The Colorado Rockies are exploring the market for third baseman Garrett Atkins , and if they fail to find a new home for him in the trade market, they’ll simply release him, and hand the gig to Ian Stewart .
Atkins had a miserable year last season after being one of the Rockies key run producers the previous three seasons. In 126 games last season, Atkins hit a lousy .226 with eight home runs and 48 RBI.
In 2008, however, he hit hit 21 homers with 99 RBI while batting a respectable .286, and 56 extra-base hits compared to just 22 hits last year.
The 29-year-old finished 14th in the N.L. MVP voting in 2006 when he hit .326 with 29 dingers and 120 RBI while having 78 extra-base knocks, and a .409 on-base percentage.
Atkins opens my eyes because he has a history of driving in runs for what has been one of the better lineups in the National League the past few years in Colorado, and he could be had for cheap.
Someone with his past history of producing runs in what used to be a hitter's friendly ballpark, and hitting for average while doing so, is quite intriguing.
On a plus-side with Atkins, he'll likely cost you under four million bucks because after a dreadful 2009 year, no one will give him close to what he made with the Rox last year, which was a little over seven million.
According to Patrick Summers of the Denver Post , one general manager said: "I know some guys who think he could be a bargain pickup, but other guys think he's lost his swing."
Summers also says that the same GM has concerns that his 2009 slump "was not an aberration."
With Charlie Manuel and Milt Thompson being hitting geniuses, I think Atkins could benefit from having them as his coaches. They would show him what not to do, and help him get out of the funk.
Baseball is all about having fun, and when players are in a bad way like Atkins was last year, having fun is the No. 1 way to get out of it. That's one thing this Phillies team knows, they know how to have fun.
Another positive for Atkins to the Phillies is that it would reunite him with his college teammate, roommate, and one of his best friends, Chase Utley .
Utley is a great leader, and he leads by example. He's the first one to the park each day, and players want to be like him. His hard work could help Atkins adopt the same work ethic, and get himself out of his slump.
The Phillies are in need of another right-handed power bat to add to their lineup, and Atkins would be just that. It's a riskier decision than signing Figgins, DeRosa or Beltre, but it could pay huge dividends.
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