The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Garrett Atkins to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. Atkins played for Colorado for seven years, combining for a .289/.354/.457 line in 2788 at-bats. However, he’s been on the decline in recent years.
Atkins had a career year in 2006, with a .329/.409/.556 line and 29 homers in 602 at-bats. In 2007 he was strong, with a .301/.367/.486 line, and 25 homers in 605 at-bats. He slipped some in 2008, with a .286/.328/.452 line, and 21 homers in 611 at-bats. Atkins has bottomed out the last two years, with a .226/.308/.342 line and nine homers in 2009, and a .214/.276/.286 line with one homer in 140 at-bats last year with the Baltimore Orioles.
Atkins could be considered a product of Coors Field. He has a career .327/.385/.507 line in 1356 at-bats in Coors Field during his career. In his time with Colorado he had a .252/.324/.411 line away from Coors.
Atkins will probably compete with Josh Fields and Andy Marte for the corner bench role in the majors. I’m not too high on Atkins, since he’s had two down years in a row, and seems like a product of Coors Field during his time with Colorado. He’s bad defensively at third base, and not much better at first base. Since he’s on a minor league contract, it’s not that big of a deal, but I don’t expect much out of him in 2011.
UPDATE 8:47 PM: According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Atkins will make $800 K in the majors.