The Baltimore Orioles answered the question, who’s on 3rd, by signing free agent Garrett Atkins. Garrett became a free agent when he lost his job to Ian Stewart, and the Rockies decided not to offer him a contract. It seems like only yesterday the 30 year old looked to be a bright young star hitting his way onto the scene in Colorado. In 2006 Atkins batted .329, with 29 homers, & 120 RBIs, following that with a .301 average, 25 long balls, and 111 knocked in, and in ’08 he drove in 99, with 21 big flies, and a .286 batting average. But when he tailed off to .226, 9 HRs, & 48 ribbies, it was time for him to move on, and Baltimore is hoping he’ll regain his stroke in an Orioles uniform.
The O’s also locked up lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez. Gonzalez appeared in nearly half of Atlanta’s game in 2009, 80 (which was 3rd in the majors), and with his funky delivery & nasty stuff Mike was able to strikeout 90 batters in 74′ innings pitched, he recorded a career high in saves, 24, with the Pirates in 2006. His contract is loaded with bonuses if he does well as the closer in Baltimore.
Mr. OBP, Nick Johnson will take his act back to the Bronx, where it all started. New York drafted Johnson in the third round of the 1996 amateur draft, he was a highly touted youngster in their organization, even batting over 700 times with the Yankees in 2002 & 2003 combined. But Nick’s career has been filled with its share of injuries, still he has an outstanding career OBP of .402 in 770 big league games. With Hideki Matsui signing with the Halos, it looks like the 31 year old lefthanded hitter will take over as the club’s designated hitter.
Across town Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi will pitch this upcoming season out of the Metropolitans bullpen. Ryota missed all of 2007 with an arm injury, but appears fully recovered as he posted a 2.42 ERA this past year for the Swallows, which was his career best. The 30 year old, Igarashi, a righthander, is said to have the best fastball in Japanese baseball.