© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

12/13/09 12:41 AM EST

Rockies part ways with Atkins

Non-tendered third baseman becomes free agent

DENVER -- It was an expected, if unpleasant, 30th birthday move for third baseman Garret Atkins.

The Rockies parted ways with Atkins, who hit .226 in 2009 and lost his starting position to Ian Stewart.

Atkins, who made $7.05 million last season, was the only arbitration-eligible Rockies player the club did not tender a contract offer before Saturday's 10 p.m. MT deadline for doing so. The Rockies reached a three-year, $8.3 million agreement this week with catcher Chris Iannetta.

The club also is discussing multiyear deals with relief pitchers Rafael Betancourt and Huston Street, as well as second baseman Clint Barmes, and is expected to pursue one-year deals with starting pitchers Jorge De La Rosa and Jason Hammel, relief pitcher Taylor Buchholz and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs. In the cases of all tendered players who are arbitration-eligible, if they can not reach terms on a contract, their 2010 salaries will be set at an arbitration hearing early in Spring Training.

The Rockies will turn their attention to players to fill a bench role, one Atkins fell into last season.

The Rockies are looking at right-handed hitters Jamey Carroll, Nick Green, Melvin Mora, Fernando Tatis and Robb Quinlan, and probably will see some more on the market. Left-handed hitters Jason Giambi, who helped the team down the stretch last season, and Chad Tracy also intrigue the Rockies.

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