December 4, 2008 5:43 PM
Will Rockies keep or trade Atkins?
Odds are better than 50-50 that 3B Garrett Atkins will be in a Rockies uniform come spring training.
After moving Matt Holliday, the Rockies demands in a trade for Atkins have become more specific, and so far teams have been reluctant to get involved in serious conversations involving a proven starting pitcher capable of moving into the No. 3 spot -- or higher -- in the Rockies rotation.
What's more, while doctors have said that Todd Helton's back surgery was a success, the true test won't come until Helton is put through a daily grind to see how his back responds, and that won't be until the final weeks of spring training, at the earliest.
And with the trade of Holliday, Atkins' right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup could be critical for keeping Troy Tulowitzki from having too much pressure as the only right-handed-hitting threat in a run-producing spot.
With Atkins two years removed from free agency, that adds up to the Rockies reconsidering the possibility of moving him.
Atkins provides an alternative at first base if Helton has physical problems, or even a day or two a week to help protect Helton in addition to playing third base. The presence of Ian Stewart to take over at third is a key reason the Rockies felt they could move Atkins, but they are convinced that Stewart has the athleticism to move to left field.