Garrett Atkins would "welcome" release from Orioles

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After the Orioles acquired Jake Fox from the A’s earlier this week, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com speculated that Garrett Atkins would be designated for assignment in order to make room for Saturday’s starter Brad Bergesen. It turns out that won’t happen, as Lou Montanez will go on the disabled list with an oblique strain.

Still, it’s essentially a foregone conclusion that Atkins will be released at some point in the near future. The 30-year-old infielder was signed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with an $8.5 million club option for 2011 after being non-tendered by the Rockies last December, but entering Friday’s action, he is batting just .219/.282/.292 with one home run and nine RBI over 137 at-bats. He has just 11 at-bats this month and is making his first start since June 14 on Friday.

With the writing clearly on the wall, Atkins told Ghiroli that he doesn’t view his inevitable release as a bad thing.

“Not at all,” he said. “[It would] be a welcome opportunity.”

By the way, Atkins just grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning against the Nationals. He’s doing all the little things to earn his release. You have to respect that.
 

Yankees acquire James Paxton from Mariners

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The Yankees announced that the club has acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners in exchange for three prospects: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a solid return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worries about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field, and Paxton’s durability. Paxton has made more than 20 starts in a season just twice in his career — the last two years (24 and 28). The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.