January 20, 2009 7:39 PM
Atkins and Justin Morneau
Using Justin Morneau as a comparison, Jeff Blank, the agent for Garrett Atkins, said they were shooting to come in at a midpoint just below $7.4 million when they exchanged figures today with the Rockies.That was the amount of the one-year contract first baseman Morneau signed with Minnesota when figures were exchanged last year. A week later, the parties replaced that $7.4 million deal with a six-year, $80 million contract. Morneau was then arbitration-eligible for the second time, as Atkins currently is.
The Rockies offered $6.65 million, and Atkins filed for $7.95 million, creating a $7.3 million midpoint. By way of comparison, here are some career statistics on Morneau one year ago and Atkins now
Atkins, who turned 29 last month, has a .298 career average in 647 games with 357 runs scored, 725 hits, 150 doubles, 89 home runs, 431 RBI and a .360 on-base percentage.
After the 2007 season, Morneau, then 26, had a .276 average in 569 games with 296 runs scored, 567 hits, 112 doubles, 110 home runs, 394 RBI and a .340 on-base percentage.
Morneau, however, was named the American League Most Valuable Player in 2006. Atkins' best finish in the National League MVP voting was 15th in 2006.
The Morneau comparison aside, odds are against Atkins and the Rockies going to an arbitration hearing. Indeed, they've only had three hearings in their history, never with a position player.
"Last year, we submitted and were able to work something out after that," Blank said, "and the Rockies were very professional about it. This year we ended up submitting, and I think the numbers ended up where we expected. So I don't think anything's been a surprise so far.
"I don't think any player really wants to go to arbitration. I don't think any team wants to go. But the Rockies said last year with Fuentes, they're prepared to go, and we're certainly willing to go. But whether it goes or not, that just depends on where each side values the case and if you can come to some sort of compromise _ I'm sure there'll be talks."