With the non-tender deadline approaching at 11:00pm eastern time tonight, the list of players being non-tendered by their clubs is beginning to trickle in.Â One of the first casualties is Colorado Rockies’ infielder Garrett Atkins.Â According to Thomas Harding of mlb.com, Atkins has been granted free agency.Â I think the Mets should be very interested.
I can’t claim any knowledge of the type of salary it would take to land Atkins, but depending on how that shakes out Atkins is a player that could improve the Mets offense.Â The Rockies are letting him go because he made $7.05 million in 2009, and because he had a very rough season at the plate, batting .226 with 12 doubles, 9 HR and 48 RBI in 399 plate appearances.
But prior to 2009, Atkins, who turns 30 today (Happy Birthday Garrett!Â Here are your walking papers!) Atkins was a quality offensive performer, averaging 25 HR and 110 RBI from 2006-2008 with a slash line of .305/.369/.498.
Atkins’ career numbers are clearly inflated by playing his home games in the thin air of Colorado as his career OPS+ at home is 120 while on the road it is only 82, but his HR rate per at bat is virtually identical on the road (.034) as it is at home (.035).Â Also, his BABIP in 2009 was under .300 for the first time in his career, at .247, compared to his career number of .311, so he clearly suffered from some bad luck in 2009.
His fielding is nothing to write home about, it has fluctuated from season to season, and is negative overall.Â He has played primarily at 3B (642 games) with a career UZR/150 of minus 5.0.Â Atkins also plays 1B (105 games) with a career UZR/150 of minus 6.3.Â He has also played LF and 2B, but only 3 games and 1 game respectively, and hasn’t played 2B since 2004.
All that aside, the primary reason I recommend that the Mets look into Atkins is to fill a role as backup or possible platoon partner at 1B.Â For his career, Atkins numbers are far superior against LH pitching.Â His career slash line against lefties is .301/.384/.486 and his tOPS+ versus lefties is 115.
Is he the greatest thing since sliced bread?Â No.Â Will he make the walls at Citi Field blue?Â Maybe if he brings some paint with him.Â But as an addition to the bench, coming off a down year, with the potential to help or even step in at 1B should Murphy falter, I believe he’s worth a look.Â I hope the Mets think so too.