Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Atkins Thoughts

Apologies for the lack of updates lately. There has been literally almost nothing worth discussing in the world of the Twins, although I'm hoping that starts to change within the next few weeks. The annual GM Meetings are currently taking place in Orlando, and the Winter Meetings will hit Nashville in about a month.

One interesting tidbit I thought I'd touch on is something I stumbled across while paging through the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus contributed an article discussing five hypothetical offseason trades. One of those trades involved the Twins:
Rockies trade 3B Garrett Atkins to the Twins for RHPs Anthony Swarzak and Eduardo Morlan. Ian Stewart (.304/.379/.478 at Triple A Colorado Springs) is ready to take over at third base for Colorado, which should be looking to add strikeout pitchers to a staff heavy on contact guys. Minnesota has a glut of young pitchers and desperately needs to add a bat to help Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Swarzak, 22, a starter who projects as a mid-rotation guy, is buried in the Twins' system. Morlan, 21, struck out 12.6 men per nine innings as a reliever in high A ball and could be a 2008 version of closer Manny Corpas.
This deal bears a lot of similarity to one I suggested when writing up my offseason wish list back in late September. In that article, I proposed that the Twins send Swarzak and Oswaldo Sosa to the Rockies for Atkins, and at the time I confessed that I pretty much fabricated the deal on my own without having heard any rumors involving those specific names. As such, it is interesting that a well-respected guy like Sheehan would come up with such a similar idea.

When I brought up the Swarzak/Sosa for Atkins idea, several people felt that it was unrealistic because the Rockies weren't getting enough value. In that sense, Sheehan's proposal is a bit more realistic -- Morlan is a considerably better prospect than Sosa. If the deal was on the table, I suppose I'd do it, because I think Atkins would be a great addition; however, I wouldn't be happy about losing Morlan, who looks like a prime candidate to take over as the Twins' closer when Joe Nathan inevitably departs as a free agent after next year.

Then again, recent reports indicate that the Rockies may not be interested in trading Atkins, with the idea being that Stewart can slide over to second base, leaving free agent Kaz Matsui as the odd man out. I'm not sure I buy into Stewart as a second baseman and I still think that if the right deal came along, the Rockies would trade Atkins to add some pitching. We'll see how that storyline shapes up though.

8 comments:

ubelmann said...

I also kind of wonder if the Rockies would rather trade Stewart than Atkins. Such preferences are difficult to gauge, though.

John said...

What a strange, strange market there is for third basemen this year. On the one hand, the free agent market is almost completely bare. On the other hand, there are possible trade candidates wherever you look. Coming into the offseason I couldn't have been more pessimistic about filling that hole. But now I'll be dissapointed if Lee doesn't swing a deal.

Nick N. said...

Ubes, I have to imagine the Rockies would rather trade Atkins. That organization is still working on a budget, and Stewart will be cheap for a lot longer. If given the choice, though, I'd certainly rather obtain Stewart.

John, I'm fully convinced the Twins will make some sort of trade to bring in a third baseman. Let's just hope it's one that makes sense.

Dianna said...

Your boy Christensen blows up the Atkins deal in his blog today.

Gil said...

They seem to think that Ian Stewart can play second but if they resign Matsui where does that leave him?

Nick N. said...

They seem to think that Ian Stewart can play second but if they resign Matsui where does that leave him?

Good question. I suppose if they plan on sliding Stewart to second they would be very unlikely to re-sign Matsui. Christensen observed on his blog yesterday that "the Rockies don’t seem to think Stewart is ready to step in immediately," but I don't see how that could possibly be the case. He hit very well in Triple-A last year and got his feet wet in the majors.

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