Atkins, Orioles finalize $4.5 million, 1-year deal

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

Third baseman Garrett Atkins and the Baltimore Orioles finalized their $4.5 million, one-year contract Tuesday.

His deal calls for a $4 million salary next year and includes an $8.5 million club option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout. Atkins can make an additional $500,000 next year: $250,000 each for 550 and 600 plate appearances.

The 30-year-old has spent his entire seven-year major league career with the Rockies and became a free agent when Colorado failed to offer a 2010 contract.

Atkins slumped to a .226 average with nine homers and 48 RBIs last season after hitting .286 with 21 homers and 99 RBIs in 2008. Atkins, who made $7.05 million this year, lost the third base job to Ian Stewart by the end of the season.

Atkins had a career-high 29 homers and 120 RBIs in 2006, when he was fourth in the NL with a .329 average. He batted .301 with 25 homers and 111 RBIs the following year.

Atkins played 89 games at first base over the past two seasons and his experience at both corner infield spots makes him a good fit for Baltimore. Longtime third baseman Melvin Mora is a free agent, and the Orioles traded first baseman Aubrey Huff to Detroit in August.

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