November 7, 2008

Hot Stove: Garrett Atkins

The Twins and Rockies have reportedly begun discussing possible trade scenarios that would bring the Twins third baseman, Garrett Atkins. The Rockies reportedly may have interest in Michael Cuddyer, which could solve a few 'problems' the Twins currently have. I discussed a potential Atkins trade back in May, so it really isn't surprising to me to see his name connected to the Twins once again.

Atkins is a talented third baseman who is a proven run producer. Unfortunately for him, his home/away splits are very alarming which making any potential suitor skeptical of acquiring him. He also is not a terrific defender, which makes it questionable as to how much of a leash he'd have with manager Ron Gardenhire. Surely if the Twins acquired him, they'd definitely be looking for a top-notch defensive shortstop to help fill the gap.

Cuddyer is one season into a three-year contract that he signed last winter. He is a fan favorite as well as a clubhouse leader. However, the departures of both Torii Hunter and Johan Santana (both who are looked up to in the clubhouse) in the same off-season, they likely won't be too hesitent to deal Cuddyer. Michael is coming off of an injury plagued season, which in turn has his value (at least perceived value) incredibly low right now. The fact that the Rockies are willing to trade a cheaper and better player for Cuddyer, certainly puts the theory that his "current value is low" to rest.

The problems I see in this rumor is that the Twins will also likely need to part with another player in return, more specifically a young pitcher. I personally don't see a point in trading any of our young five starting pitchers, it just makes no sense unless we get something pretty significant in return. So if the Rockies want Cuddyer and one of our young starting pitchers in return, they can forget about it.

However, that doesn't mean that I am opposed to trading a prospect along with Cuddyer for Atkins. A player such as Philip Humber, Anthony Swarzak, Kevin Mulvey or Tyler Robertson would probably interest the Rockies and I don't know if I'd let any of them stand in the way of acquiring Atkins. I am also sure that they'd be interested in a guy like Jose Mijares, however I would at least hope that the Twins wouldn't part ways with him given how bad their bullpen was this year.

So if the trade is Cuddyer and a prospect or a pitcher such as Boof Bonser, I certainly could be on board. However if the trade is for Cuddyer along with one of our young starting pitchers, then they can forget it. I would rather see Cuddyer play third base.

Atkins is under team control for two more years, however if you really take a look at it, he and Cuddyer will likely make around the same amount next year.

The Twins would be getting a good middle-of-the-order bat at a position of need, however I just hope that they do not overpay for him. He certainly has his flaws and watching him over the past three seasons, you can see that his numbers have taken a significant drop each season. That along with his putrid defense and terrible stats away from Coors Field, the Twins need to be careful if they do try to acquire him. His cost could be at a premium right now, which frightens me. If the Indians are also interested in acquiring him, I wouldn't mind to see them overpay for him instead of the Twins.

Other thoughts on this rumor, click here, here, here and here.