A number of reports are linking the Phillies, along with the Reds, Angels and Twins, with trade talks involving Colorado third baseman/first baseman Garrett Atkins, scheduled to become a free agent after 2010.
Atkins hit .286/.328/.452 in 2008 with 21 homers and 99 RBIs, substantial drops over his 2007 totals and good for only a 97 OPS+, seeing much, much higher production at home just like Matt Holliday. The 28-year-old former teammate of Chase Utley at UCLA can cover the corner infield spots and is considered only a mediocre defender, and although he’s never played left field, Beerleaguer readers are encouraged that his bat, plugged into the fray somewhere, would be enough to overcome the possible loss of Pat Burrell:
“Atkins would be a two-fer,” clout writes. “His bat would allow you to let Burrell walk AND it would replace the weakest bat in the lineup outside of Ruiz. Acquire Atkins and you can go for a Value Village righty in LF to platoon w. Jenkins/Stairs. I'd argue that a lineup that replaces Feliz and Burrell vs. RHP with Atkins & Stairs or Jenkins would suffer no drop in offense.”
The Rockies are reportedly looking to move catcher Yorvit Torrealba and outfielder Willy Tavaras and are hoping to package them together with Atkins, but the Reds, believed to have the most interest, don’t want them. The Phillies might have some interest in those areas as backup catcher Chris Coste watched his playing time and production diminish over the final part of the season.
John Sickels releases Phillies Top 20 prospects: When you have a moment, cruise over to minorleagueball.com, where John Sickels, just back from the Arizona Fall League, runs down his Top 20 Phillies prospects. For a taste, here’s what he had to say about Phillies’ 2008 first-rounder Anthony Hewitt: “Quite frankly, Anthony Hewitt sucks as a baseball player right now.” Yes!