Mets Merized Online » Garrett Atkins Thu, 24 Apr 2014 22:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Around The Blogs In 80 Days: Baltimore Orioles Edition Thu, 24 Dec 2009 11:00:43 +0000 Ok so the title of my post maybe a bit deceiving, no this feature will not last 80 days, but I thought it would be a cool project to go around the league and connect with bloggers from the other 29 MLB teams and have them weigh in on their teams.

For my first stop of the tour, I check in with Daniel Moroz, founder of Camden Crazies, which is an excellent blog dedicated to the Baltimore Orioles.

In addition to providing up to date information surrounding the ball club, Moroz uses sabermetrics to showcase in-depth analysis of each member of the Orioles roster.

In the interview Moroz discuses a wide range of topics, including the team’s interest in both Matt Holliday and Carlos Delgado, as well as a look at some of the Orioles most prized youngsters.

Without further adieu here is my interview with Daniel Moroz of Camden Crazies:

PH: Obviously last season much of the talk surrounding the Orioles revolved around rookie catcher Matt Weiters. How would you rate Weiters’ rookie campaign in terms of a letter grade? Did he live up to your personal expectations?

DM: I took a more in-depth look at Wieters’ season here, but I thought he’d hit .275/.344/.438 (he actually hit .288/.340/.412) and gave a lot of weight to his being a catcher (and thus needing more transition time).

I was largely disappointed with the below average plate discipline – especially given his strong walk rates in the minors – but he’s still young and learning, and already a pretty good hitter for a catcher at his current level. I’d give him a C relative to expectations (which largely weren’t his fault), but a B- overall.

PH: Last year the Orioles made a very substantial offer to then-free agent, Mark Teixeira. This year it is rumored that the Os are in contact with Matt Holliday’s agent.  In your opinion how likely is the team to land the free agent slugger?

DM: I would be very, very surprised to see the O’s sign Holliday.

The guy’s a great player, but in order to get him to come to Baltimore, the O’s would need to really beat the Cardinals’ offer and I don’t think they’re in a position as a team to spend that kind of money right now. If all goes according to plan, they should be able to make a splash for a big-time free agent next off-season.

PH: While still on the Matt Holliday subject, some have suggested that the Orioles are not very serious in their pursuit of Holliday. What’s your take on this? Do you feel that the team sincerely believes that they have a chance at signing him?

DM: I think that they’d love to have him – all 30 teams would – but once the price-tag went above a certain level they weren’t going to stay in the bidding. It was worth asking, but the team isn’t in serious pursuit.

PH: Another bright spot on the Orioles team last year was the emergence of Nolan Reimold, who was called up early last season and proceeded to produce rather nicely before being shut down with an injury to the Achilles tendon. Do you have an update on his condition and will he be ready for the 2010 season?

DM: Last I checked with Will Carroll (injury expert at Baseball Prospectus), he should be good to go to start the season.

The injury may have negatively affected his range in left-field, which wasn’t too good and held down his total value to the team despite his impressive bat. I’m expecting a rebound with the glove while largely maintaining his offensive production in 2010.

PH: The Orioles have an impressive amount of young talent on their roster. Who in their farm system is closest to being major league ready and are there any hidden gems that haven’t been publicized much?

DM: Jake Arrieta is probably the next starting pitcher to be called up – he’s ended ’09 in Triple-A. Third-baseman Josh Bell (acquired in the George Sherrill trade) and first-baseman Brandon Snyder should be ready at some point in 2010.

The guy I like best who hasn’t gotten as much attention thus far due to the presence of Tillman and Matusz, is lefty starting pitching prospect Zach Britton. The guy gets a ton of groundballs and upped his strike-out rate this year, and he might be climbing up top prospect lists soon. I ranked him #1 (well, #2 if you count Matusz) recently myself.

PH: Recently, the Orioles signed free agent reliever, Mike Gonzalez, to a two year contract. How do you feel about the deal considering Gonzalez’s spotty health and where does he fit into the Orioles bullpen?

DM: Given the price-tag, he’ll certainly be the closer. I don’t really like the deal, because Gonzalez is a good but not elite relief pitcher (when healthy) and the Orioles aren’t in a position to overpay for a closer right now.

The difference between 75 wins and 76 isn’t really a big deal, and certainly isn’t worth $6-8 M a year as well as a draft-pick. I’m just hoping Andy MacPhail can spin him off for quality prospects at some point. More on Gonzalez here.

PH: The team also recently picked up former Colorado Rockies star, Garrett Atkins. What’s your take on this particular signing? Do you feel that he will be able to bounce back for a dreadful season last year and contribute to the club?

DM: He’s been going down-hill for a while now – and I don’t love the deal at $4.5 M – but I do think he should be able to bounce back some (maybe .265/.335/.425).

Leaving Coors Field and moving to the tougher AL won’t help though, and his defense isn’t stellar. I think there’s a fair chance that Atkins will be slightly underpaid, but it’s not without downside risk and isn’t a straight bargain. More on Atkins here.

PH: The Orioles President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail, has suggested that he is not done making moves this off-season. What area of the team do you think needs to be addressed next?

DM: Bringing in a guy like Carlos Delgado to hold down the fort at first-base would be nice. I’d like to see Luke Scott – who can’t really be used optimally by the team right now given the presence of Reimold and Pie – traded for a solid return (a B prospect maybe).

Other than that, I would really like to see some international prospects brought into the system. The development of the team at this point has a lot more to do with the progression of the young players already on the team than any move Andy can make at the moment.

PH: The Orioles have struggled quite a bit this past decade; however they have seemingly put together a solid core of young talent. With the roster set as of today are the Orioles contenders in 2010?

DM: Of course – and I think they’ll sweep the season series with the Yankees and Red Sox too.. Seriously though, a .500 season probably isn’t in the cards for 2010 at this point.

I would just like to see some improvement from Tillman, Matusz, Reimold, Wieters, and maybe 75+ wins. It’s a process, and I’m fully aware of that. In a realistically ideal world, they win ~83 games in ’10, and then vault into contention with 93+ wins in 2011 and beyond. Boy, wouldn’t that be nice.

Once again I’d like to thank Daniel for being apart of this feature. For more on the Orioles make sure to check out Moroz’s site, Camden Crazies. Also be sure to follow Moroz on Twitter.

Now MLB fans, it’s your turn. I’m interested in your feedback to this new series, and whether or not you would like me to continue these interviews.

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Orioles Continue To Spend; Add Gonzalez and Atkins Thu, 17 Dec 2009 04:57:38 +0000 While things may be quiet in terms of Mets activity, the Orioles are wasting no time in building their club up for the 2010 campaign and beyond.

Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun are reporting that the Orioles have inked former Colorado Rockie, Garrett Atkins, to a one year deal.

Atkins, who was non-tendered by the Rockies last week, is coming off the worst full season performance of his big league career. He hit only .226 with 9 home runs and 48 RBIs with on OBP of .308.

These numbers are down significantly from the year prior where he hit to the tune of .286 to compliment 21 home runs and 99 RBIs and an OBP of .328..

However, with Atkins’s track record I think he would have been a solid pickup for the Mets to possibly platoon at first base.

For what it’s worth, Bill James predicts that he will rebound in 2010 and hit roughly .285 while slugging somewhere in the ball park of 15 home runs and 70 RBIs.

That was not Andy Macphail’s only acquisition of the day. He also signed free agent reliever, Mike Gonzalez, to a lucrative two year contract worth somewhere between $12 and $16 million.

Last year Gonzalez was rock solid, posting an ERA of 2.42 in 74.1 innings pitched. Additionally he struck out 90 batters, while only walking 33.

With such impressive numbers, Gonzalez projects to be the team’s closer heading into next year.

However, I’m not as high on this acquisition as I was about Atkins. While Gonzalez is lights out when healthy, his ability to stay healthy is questionable.

Although if Gonzalez can prove me wrong than the Os will have made two very significant, in my opinion, acquisitions that will help turn this club into a winning team.

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Mets Non-Tenders And Other Notables Sun, 13 Dec 2009 01:53:41 +0000 David Lennon of Newsday, tweets that the following players have been non-tendered by the Mets:

OF Cory Sullivan
OF Jeremy Reed
RP Lance Broadway
SP Tim Redding

Nothing that wasn’t already expected there, but it’s worth noting that only Sean Green remains of the trade that sent “six players” to the Mariners and Indians in the J.J. Putz deal.

Other Notable Non Tenders

The Oakland A’s have non tendered outfielder Jack Cust. Cust has led the American League in strikeouts for three consecutive seasons, including 2009 when he struck out 185 times, after a season in which he whiffed 197 times. I’ve heard some rumblings from Mets fans who see him as an opportunity, but I say no way. You have to draw the line somewhere. Besides I thought the idea of acquiring a player was to improve the team not make it worse. Two thumbs down.

Colorado has parted ways with Garrett Atkins. The 29 year old corner infielder is coming off a terrible season in which he batted just .226  with 9 homers and 48 RBIs. However, before this past season, Atkins was a solid offensive force and a key component in the Rockies offense. Between 2006 and 2008, Atkins averaged .301 with 25 homeruns and 110 RBIs. He is righthanded and would certainly add some power off the bench while filling a platoon role with Daniel Murphy at first base. Two thumbs up.

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Imports From Colorado Could Be Mile-High Disappointments For Mets Wed, 14 Oct 2009 13:55:37 +0000 When it comes two building a championship team for next season, the names Matt Holliday and Jason Bay usually spearhead the list as essential additions the club must make.

However, the Mets will need more than just a single free agent slugger to be competitive in the National League East.

The free agent market, as a whole, isn’t very deep this season so Omar Minaya and the Mets will most likely look at acquiring new talent via trade to try to patch the team’s numerous voids.

Colorado is an interesting trade partner as they seem to be segueing in a new generation of younger and cheaper stars, including the likes of Dexter Fowler. By doing so they are also looking to shed some of their more expensive stars.

The two in particular that would seem most likely to warrant a look by the Mets are Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe.

Atkins is coming off a year where he hit for career lows in the average, home run and RBI department. There is talk that the once-powerful third baseman will be non-tendered, which means the Mets could acquire him without losing prospects.

This looks like an attractive option to buy low on a productive player that could platoon at first base and spell David Wright at third on days where he needs rest, right?


Atkins, who is already in the midst of a prolonged slump would suffer greatly away from Coors Field.

Let’s look at 2007, a year in which Atkins hit .301 and clubbed 25 home runs cumulatively. Atkins hit the ball extremely well at home and posted a .349 average at Coors Field. However, his road average plummeted to .254.

This is a trend that can be seen when looking at the past two years as well.

Certainly, a pitcher’s friendly park, like Citi Field would do a number on Atkins’s performance.

Atkins’s teammate, Brad Hawpe’s, name has come up numerous times in rumors connected to the Mets. Unlike, Atkins, Hawpe is a very consistent player, who has hit 20+ home runs and driven in 80+ runs in the past four seasons.

Hawpe also doesn’t suffer nearly as badly from the Coors Field effect, and in some cases has actually hit better on the road than at home. Unfortunately, Hawpe has his flaws as well.

Hawpe is a pitcher’s best friend in the sense that he is a strike out machine.

Last year, alone, in 501 at-bats, Hawpe struck out 145 times. That is a very high percentage of punch-outs, and is five more than the Mets’ 2009 strike out leader, David Wright, had.

Throughout his career, Hawpe has never been able to grasp hitting left-handed pitching. Last year, he hit only .243 against southpaws, which is in line with how he hit them in the previous three seasons combined (.245).

Now if the team went out and acquired a slugging first baseman, such as Prince Fielder, Hawpe wouldn’t look so bad in left field because he does in fact have good power.

He could even platoon with Angel Pagan on days when the team faces a left-hander.

However, if the Mets decide not to acquire a big bat at first base, electing Hawpe to be the full-time left fielder over Bay or Holliday would be a mistake.

All in all, it is pretty clear that neither Colorado bat is an ideal fit for the Mets.

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