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12/09/08 2:20 PM EST

Atkins' name resurfaces at Meetings

Rockies outfielder could factor in potential Rays-Twins deal

LAS VEGAS -- An intriguing rumor, based on the Rays' alleged interest in taking back former Tampa Bay outfielder Delmon Young in a deal with the Minnesota Twins, has touched the Rockies' Garrett Atkins.

According to ESPN's Jayson Stark, the Rays are likely to deal one of two pitchers, Andy Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson. But, Stark wrote, the Twins would need a third team because they aren't looking to add starting pitching. That's where Atkins could come in, since the Twins have coveted him and the Rockies are looking for starting pitching.

However, there are some questions from the Rockies' standpoint that could render the scenario moot:

• The Rockies are seeking front-of-the rotation talent, and have said they need to be blown away by an offer to part with Atkins -- their biggest lineup threat, now that Matt Holliday has been traded to the Athletics.

Whether Sonnanstine, a finesse pitcher, or Jackson, who was once a top prospect with the Dodgers and began to realize the promise by going 14-11 with the Rays this season, fits the bill is in question.

• In earlier talks with the Twins, the pitchers the Rockies wanted were Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn, guys with higher upside than the pair of possibilities from the Rays.

• The Rockies have had designs on a right-handed-hitting outfielder and are known to be interested in Young as well. Losing Atkins would leave the Rockies without a solid right-handed bat.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.