Results tagged ‘ Garrett Atkins ’

Welcome to the Offseason

The San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions. I’m not sure how I feel about that just yet. Anyways, as soon as the last pitch was recorded 142 players filed for free agency. Here are the Orioles names, including Mark Hendrickson who has a club option that will be declined.

Of the names, Cesar Izturis and Ty Wigginton have the best chance of coming back although that depends on where the O’s find that big power bat. Even so, the team is not expected to sign any of their free agents in the newly-shortened five-day window. That means come Sunday the free agent market will really get going with other clubs allowed to negotiate. Here are the former Orioles who will hit the market…..

Cesar Izturis, SS
Julio Lugo, 2B BA
Kevin Millwood, SP
Corey Patterson OF
Koji Uehara  RP
Ty Wigginton, INF

Mark Hendrickson, RP

First and foremost the Orioles need a power bat, preferably one who plays a corner infield spot. Here are the 2011 first base free agents, with their age, according to the wonderful website MLB Trade Rumors:

Garrett Atkins (31)
Lance Berkman (35) – Type B
Russell Branyan (35) – $5MM mutual option
Jorge Cantu (29)
Adam Dunn (31) – Type A
Troy Glaus (34)
Eric Hinske (33)
Aubrey Huff (34) – Type B
Nick Johnson (32)
Paul Konerko (35) – Type A
Mark Kotsay (35)
Adam LaRoche (31) – $7.5MM mutual option with a $1.5MM buyout -Type B
Derrek Lee (35) – Type A
Melvin Mora (39)
Xavier Nady (32)
Lyle Overbay (34)
Carlos Pena (33) – Type B
Robb Quinlan (34)
Fernando Tatis (36)
Mike Sweeney (37)

*First and foremost, not a lot of power jumps off on this list. It’s not the Orioles only option (we’ll spend time looking at third base and shortstop options as well), but it’s a pretty uninspiring group given that the O’s want a middle-of-the-order bat. Do you take a gamble of Pena, who had a career-low year and struggled to bat .200? I’ve been told that Adam Dunn has no interest in coming here –he also prefers to play the field–, and according to ESPNChicago.com, the Diamondbacks will make signing Konerko an “offseason priority”. Huff was dealt away once, I’d be shocked if president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail made a serious effort to bring him back.  Berkman and Johnson struggled with injuries and declining numbers.
 
*Wigginton is also on this list, but resigning him hardly feels like a free agent acquisition so I took him off. He’s always an option, especially given that manager Buck Showalter loves hard-nosed players like Wiggy. 

*You can also note the line through Garrett Atkins’ name. No, he’s not retiring, but the Orioles definitely won’t gamble on him again. Look for Atkins who said he is open to signing a Minor League deal, to go back to the National League and hope to revive his career much like a Pat Burrell case.

*This blog is by no means meant to be exhaustive, just thought I’d get the Hot Stove talk started. I’m working on an inbox for later this week, so feel free to send your Orioles offseason questions my way. The Orioles Free Agent preview will be up later on the site and should help get the discussions going. Should be an interesting winter…

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Atkins reacts

BALTIMORE–A day after the Orioles designated him for
assignment, Garrett Atkins was dealing with a mix of emotions.

“It’s frustrating, I didn’t do what I was capable of doing, and
when I got the chance I couldn’t produce,” Atkins said in a phone interview
with MLB.com as he waited in the airport to fly back home.

“I’m just trying to get things straightened out, get back to
California and go from there. See how it plays out in the next two weeks.”

Atkins was designated for assignment Sunday when the Orioles
activated reliever Koji Uehara (strained forearm) from the 15-day disabled
list. Baltimore has 10 days to trade, release or see if the first baseman
passes through waivers, in which case Atkins could accept a Minor League
assignment with the Orioles or entertain offers from other clubs.

Atkins said Monday if it was the right team and situation he
would “definitely be willing” to sign a Minor League deal elsewhere, but wasn’t
interested in returning to Baltimore. He also declined the notion of retirement
and was hopeful he could regain the power bat that has been missing for
arguably the last two seasons.

 “It was frustrating,”
said Atkins, who hit .214 with one homer and nine RBIs in 140 at-bats as an
Oriole.  “But you try to learn from it
and move forward and that’s all you can do.”

Atkins ineffectiveness at the plate relegated him to a bench
role, forcing the Orioles to trade for right-handed power bat Jake Fox on June
22. Atkins made just five starts in the Orioles past 28 games, going 0-for-3 –
including a double-play ball with the bases loaded — in his last start on
Friday.  Given the high expectations and
his guaranteed $4.5 million salary, Atkins was an easy target for Baltimore
fans’ ire, as they watched the O’s get off to a 2-16 start and languish in
baseball’s basement.

Atkins said he understood the disappointment and had no
problem shouldering part of the blame for the O’s punchless offense. Baltimore
is the only team in the Major Leagues without a homer from their first baseman,
with Atkins’ lone blast occurring when he served as designated hitter.

“It’s been frustrating, you feel like you can probably do a
little bit more, and frustrating the team hasn’t really played up to its
ability,” he said.

“I figured [being designated] was going to come soon…and they
decided to keep the extra arm. That’s how it goes.”

Given Atkins’ salary, most interested teams will wait for
him to clear waivers, to ensure that the Orioles will pick up the rest of the tab
before taking a chance.  Atkins told
MLB.com on Friday that being released could be a blessing in disguise, calling
it a “welcome opportunity” to get regular playing time and another chance elsewhere.

Recently released Rays designated hitter Pat Burrell has
found a new home and regained his power stroke in San Francisco, and Atkins was
hopeful he could find the same thing.

“Sometimes starting fresh somewhere, probably those
things will help [his power potential],” interim manager Juan Samuel said
in Sunday’s press conference announcing the move.

“[Atkins is] a great guy. He was professional
throughout this whole process, and understands why he wasn’t playing. He was
very quiet, didn’t cause any issues in the clubhouse. He was just a veteran
professional.”

More on the Atkins farewell

BALTIMORE–The Orioles designated Garrett Atkins for
assignment prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals, recalling
right-handed reliever Koji Uehara in his place.

Atkins batted .214 with one homer and nine RBIs in 140 at-bats
and his ineffectiveness relegated him to a bench role, forcing the Orioles to
trade for right-handed power bat Jake Fox on June 22. Atkins made just five
starts in the Orioles last 28 games, going 0-for-3 -including a double-play
ball with the bases-loaded — in his last start on Friday.

The pending return of outfielder Felix Pie –coupled with
the production of Fox and Scott Moore – made Atkins’ release in Baltimore a near
certainty, with rumors swirling the last few days.

Atkins, who was well aware of his situation, acknowledged on
Friday that being DFA’ed could be a blessing in disguise. Recently released
Rays designated hitter Pat Burrell has found a new home and regained his power
stroke in San Francisco, and Atkins said when the O’s cut ties, he won’t look
at it as a bad thing.

“Not at all,” he said in an interview with
MLB.com. “[It would] be a welcome opportunity.”

Atkins was non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies after the
2009 season and was signed by the Orioles to a one-year contract guaranteed to
net him $4 million this year. Baltimore had a club option for 2011, and by
choosing to designate Atkins, will also pay him a $500,000 buyout.  

“We gambled that we could resurrect a bat and it just wasn’t
happening,” said president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who was
hopeful when he signed Atkins this winter that he could return to the 20-homers,
100-RBI form of seasons’ past.

“From Spring Training we just didn’t see the power coming
back,” MacPhail said. “And Moore and Fox offer us more flexibility in more
positions. With Atkins it was either first base or DH.”

Toward the end, it became just the bench. Atkins made 17 starts
in March/April and May, but appeared in just six games, with 14 at-bats in the
month of June. 

“I know [interim manager Juan Samuel] feels bad,
there’s only so many spots to go around in the lineup,” Atkins said Friday.
 
“Guys that have been in my position have done a good job. So, you can’t
really complain about not playing when guys are playing good.”

Samuel, who had a meeting with Atkins during the team’s
recent series in San Diego, praised the way the veteran handled the situation.
He reiterated that sentiment during Atkins’ farewell.

“[Atkins] said he was
sorry things didn’t work out for him, that he wasn’t able to do more to help
us,” Samuel said. “He’s a veteran. He understands.”

A soft-spoken guy who rarely left his locker, Atkins was
described as a professional by several teammates, including Ty Wigginton and
close friend Moore, who works out with Atkins in the offseason.

“Unfortunately it was a tough situation, but he’s always
been a professional,” Moore said of Atkins, who lives just twenty minutes away
from him in the offseason. “[He] always had a good attitude, always was here
rooting for [his] teammates and the team.”

While Moore has started to hit his way into more playing
time, the acquisition of utility-man Fox was widely regarded as the nail in the
coffin regarding Atkins’ tenure.

“His opportunities were going to become fewer and fewer,” said
MacPhail, who added that he thought the organization gave Atkins ample time to
turn it around.

The move will free up at-bats for Fox off the bench, as well
as Moore, and Samuel said he has no problem using either one of those guys at
first base, if need be.

As for Atkins, he will be placed on waivers, where the
Orioles will have 10 days to either trade him or grant him his release. If
Atkins clears through waivers, he would have to accept a Minor League
assignment with the O’s or could opt to sign a Minor League free-agent deal
elsewhere.

It’s an option Atkins has not ruled out, and he told MLB.com
on Friday that he would weigh all available options before deciding what was
best.

“Sometimes starting fresh somewhere, probably those things
will help [his power potential],” Samuel said.  “He’s a great guy. He was professional
throughout this whole process and understands why he wasn’t playing. He was
very quiet, didn’t cause any issues in the clubhouse. He was just a veteran
professional.”

Added Wigginton: “He was always one of the first guys getting excited when somebody else go to big hit or whatever. He was one of the first guys to give the guy a pat on the back. He was a very good teammate.”

Atkins DFA'ed, Koji back

The Orioles designated Garrett Atkins for assignment prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals, recalling right-handed reliever Koji Uehara in his place.

Atkins was signed as a free agent in December 2009 after seven season in
Colorado. He is a career .285 hitter but batted just .214 with nine
RBIs and one home run in 2010.  The pending  return of outfielder Felix
Pie –coupled with the production of Jake Fox and Scott Moore — made
Atkins’ release in Baltimore a near certainty, with rumors swirling the last few days.

Atkins, well aware of his situation, told MLB.com on Friday the chance to get regular at-bats and play for another team would be a “welcome opportunity.”

Uehara has been on the disabled list since May 20 (right forearm strain). He threw 21 pitches for four batters in a simulated inning prior to Thursday’s game against the Marlins and was given two days to rest before being activated. In six appearances this season Uehara has pitched five innings with a 1.80 ERA.

More on Atkins

I know Garrett Atkins has been the subject of fans’ ire all season, and he’s made it no secret lately that he knows his time is coming to an end. But I will say this about him: he’s been professional about it.

Atkins was at his locker today and conducted essentially the same interview four times, answering the same questions patiently and without any excuses. And it wasn’t exactly a pleasant topic given that it was about his poor performance and pending release.

“I know [interim manager Juan Samuel] feels bad, there’s only so many spots to go around in the lineup,” said Atkins who started for just the fifth time in 2 games on Friday.
 
“Guys that have been in my position have done a good job. So, you can’t really complain about not playing when guys are playing good.”

Atkins is very quiet, but in my opinion, he might be one of the smartest guys in that locker room. He knows the writing’s on the wall and his time in Baltimore is over when Felix Pie comes back, or even sooner.

“They might have given up on me, but I don’t think [being released is] going to happen this weekend,” he said.

A lot of guys would sulk, yell or refuse to talk about the rumors until they were true. So while Atkins deserves to be booed for his performance on the field, in my opinion he deserves a small amount of respect for taking the high road.

He did admit that being released and picked up by another team wouldn’t be a bad thing, and would be a “welcome opportunity.”

But how much can you fault a guy for wanting out given that he sits on the bench with little shot of playing, (because he’s been awful) while the Orioles are marred in a historically bad run?

Orioles/Nats game 1 lineups and tidbits

By now you know, the Garrett Atkins Era is still in full swing in Baltimore. Although, he told me a change would be a “welcome opportunity.” I saw Atkins talking to Pat Burrell when the team was in San Francisco, and he admitted that being released isn’t always a bad thing. Pat the Bat has found his stroke away from the AL East. What cruel irony that would be for Orioles fans if Atkins were to hit elsewhere.

Instead of Atkins, Lou Montanez will hit the DL, in a move expected to come down postgame.

*As was reported earlier in the week, Michael Gonzalez will go on a rehab assignment this upcoming week. He came through from today’s game with no reported problems and is on track to possibly join the team on July 2’s roadtrip.

*Felix Pie should be on that trip as well, if there are no setbacks. He played in Frederick yesterday and went 2-for-5 and is expected to get some more time tonight.

*Koji Uehara is coming back, either Sunday or Tuesday.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Corey Patterson LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Garrett Atkins 1B
Julio Lugo 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Jake Arrieta RHP

NATIONALS LINEUP:
Nyjer Morgan CF
Cristian Guzman 2B
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam Dunn 1B
Josh Willingham DH
Ivan Rodriguez C
Mike Morse RF
Brendan Harris LF
Ian Desmond SS
J.D. Martin RHP

Atkins safe, Montanez to DL

Update: Interim manager Juan Samuel confirmed Lou Montanez did something to his oblique the other day and will likely go on the DL post game to clear a spot for Bergesen.

Garrett Atkins is in the Orioles lineup tonight and it’s looking increasingly like he will survive through the weekend. With the Orioles set to make two roster moves ,the team could opt to option a reliever like Frank Mata and put Lou Montanez on the disabled list. According to a team source, Montanez suffered a minor injury during some recent batting practice.

What now with Atkins?

It’s the million-dollar question lately. Acquiring Jake Fox via today’s trade is pretty much the nail in the coffin on Garrett Atkins’ already-depleted playing time. 

This is purely speculation, but Atkins could be designated for assignment when the Orioles make a roster move for Saturday and recall Brad Bergesen. They could try to get him a few more at-bats this week at home (now back with the DH) in a last-ditch effort. But, to me, getting Fox pretty much signals that the O’s have given up on Atkins and are willing to absorb the $5 million mistake.

 

More on Fox

When he was designated for assignment on June 13, Oakland’s Jake Fox told MLB.com’s Jane Lee he expected the move.

“I never showed them what I can do,” said Fox, who hit .214 with a .264 OBP in 106 at-bats.

Now Fox will  get another shot, likely at first base, as the Orioles enter Tuesday the only team in the Majors without a homer by their first baseman. The move is expected to be made official later this afternoon, but let’s look at Fox’s numbers and see where that puts him right now on the O’s.

His two homers and 14 RBIs are more than a struggling Garrett Atkins, who has gone yard just once and has nine RBIs in 43 games, which is more games played than Fox.

His average isn’t great (you don’t get DFA’ed hitting .300) but his .327 slugging is better than Atkins, Matt Wieters, Cesar Izturis and Julio Lugo, as well as rarely-used Lou Montanez. At the very least, it gives interim manager Juan Samuel another (versatile) option.

In 2009, Fox hit 11 homes with 44 RBIs in 82 games with the Cubs. He was a third-round pick in the ’03 Draft by Chicago.
 
 

Bergesen's start and things to watch for…

Brad Bergesen threw for Triple-A Norfolk tonight, and yielded two runs over five solid innings against Lehigh Valley. He allowed five hits and a walk and struck out four. Pitching on three days rest –which puts him in line for Saturday’s start in Baltimore if needed — Bergesen threw 58 of his 85 pitches for strikes.

Interim manager Juan Samuel said last week that Bergesen had to show he had returned to his mechanics, while pitching coach Rick Kranitz wasn’t ready to just hand Bergesen Saturday’s start. Kranitz didn’t say what it would take for Bergesen to earn the promotion, so I’m not sure if tonight’s effort was good enough. As I blogged yesterday, the decision isn’t just Bergesen or Chris Tillman. The Orioles have given thought to using long man Mark Hendrickson or even Jason Berken. (Although Berken has done so well it’d be hard to justify moving him out of the ‘pen, even if it is just a spot start.)

Monday is an off day so they could feasibly let Bergesen get another outing in Norfolk and go with a four-man rotation next week, following Saturday’s spot start.

Either way, there could be some changes coming this week to the roster. If Tillman doesn’t get Saturday’s start, he will likely be optioned back to Norfolk since the organization has made it clear they won’t let him just sit in the bullpen. If Bergesen earns the spot they could call up a reliever or a position player to have for the next few days before making the starter move official. 

Another thing to watch for is the Orioles interest in Jake Fox, which could cost Garrett Atkins his roster spot.

In unrelated, but positive news, Felix Pie’s first day on rehab in the Gulf Coast League went off without a hitch. He could be back at the end of the homestand, which, of course, would cause some more shuffling.

Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold is starting to heat up in Norfolk with a five-game hitting streak entering Tuesday. Since going 0-for-3 on June 15, he is 9-for-20 with two doubles and three RBIs.   

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