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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Padres - Acquired Barrett

San Diego Padres - Acquired C Michael Barrett from the Chicago Cubs for C Rob Bowen.

I’d normally rag on the Chicago Cubs for selling low here, but Barrett was being a tremendous pain in the ass and general nuisance.  This would be a lot harder of a decision if Barrett was playing well, but he’s not.  Barrett will split time with Josh Bard in some arrangement or another and while he could very well be just as much a pain in San Diego, from the Friars’ point of view, there’s a much better chance that Barrett will be good from here on out than there is with Bowen (a career 238/324/391 hitter in the minors) and the former hasn’t gotten into any fights with any Padres yet.  If Barrett doesn’t work out, the Padres are no worse off, though they might not want to risk arbitration if Barrett hits, say 240/290/380 and goes 5-for-30 at catching baserunners.

The Cubs aren’t making this trade for what they’re getting, but for what they’re giving - they’d have done this trade for one of those Pitney Bowes things that John Ratzenberger’s always selling.  On the down side, while Barrett was a distraction, a combination of Bowen and Koyie Hill is pretty ugly.

Dan Szymborski Posted: June 21, 2007 at 03:19 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Dan The Mediocre Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:11 PM (#2412011)
I don't see how this is anything but a big win for the Cubs. The traded Barrett, who was fighting with pitchers, plays bad defense, and is probably in the middle of a sharp decline, for a catcher that is pretty good with the bat, plays much better defense, doesn't fight with pitchers, and is still pretty young.

Everyone forgets that Bowen is putting up a .810 OPS while playing his home games in San Diego. I realize this is a bit misleading since he's only played 32 of 82 games at Petco, but he's still hitting well for a catcher. I'd be happy with his .733 OPS from last year.

Oh, and the Cubs also got Kyler Burke, an outfielder in the minors. No idea if it's like Murton being tacked on in the Nomar trade, or just someone thrown in for no reason.
   2. SouthSideRyan Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:18 PM (#2412018)
Kyler Burke has an OPS in the 500s I believe. He's been terrible in his limited minor league career. He is far from a Matt Murton.

And if Barrett didn't want to get traded he shouldn't have let his head be so close to the locker that Zambrano smashed him into.
   3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:21 PM (#2412024)
"I don't see how this is anything but a big win for the Cubs."

They traded a decent player (and 1-2 compensatory draft picks), plus a million and a half bucks, and got back a backup catcher and a draft bust?
   4. zonk Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2412032)
See?

Dan gets it.

The Cubs make plenty of bad moves and Hendry's history basically since the Nomar trade* is nothing to be proud of --

but this trade isn't one of them.


*Nomar staying perpetually hurt aside -- giving up Justin Jones, who's pretty much flamed out, and the old Alex Gonzalez for small stretches of Nomar + Matt Murton still counts a as win.
   5. Dan The Mediocre Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:45 PM (#2412039)
They traded a decent player (and 1-2 compensatory draft picks), plus a million and a half bucks, and got back a backup catcher and a draft bust?


Bowen is hitting better than Barrett despite playing his home games in Petco, and fields much better. Even if Bowen regresses to what he did in 2006, he'd then be hitting just as well as Barrett but with better defense.

And the draft bust is indeed a draft bust, oh well.
   6. Dan The Mediocre Posted: June 21, 2007 at 04:47 PM (#2412041)
In post 1 I should have said "had 32 of 82 at bats at Petco" instead of "32 of 82 games". No idea why I messed that up.
   7. zonk Posted: June 21, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2412057)
I will say this, though...

Dealing Barrett for 19 y.o. and a 26 yo backup C doesn't make a lot of sense if the Cub still think they're "in it" (and I suppose, with them playing in the most flawed division in a flawed league, you can't really say they're 'out of it'). Rumors of a Ranger interest in Jacque Jones are surfacing.

I was sort of under the impression that this would be a "make or break" year for Hendry - extension be damned - and wouldn't have expected the Cubs to be sellers to any extent. I mean, I don't see any way Hendry can stick around through another rebuilding plan... though, of course, the Cubs never really rebuild -- they do half-ass player dumps and figure they can 'reload'.
   8. Biscuit_pants Posted: June 21, 2007 at 05:07 PM (#2412062)
And if Barrett didn't want to get traded he shouldn't have let his head be so close to the locker that Zambrano smashed him into.
You have been really all over this trade. What, given the current circumstances with Barrett do you believe should have been done differently? Or do you just think that Barrett is being unfairly treated by the people on this site?
   9. Dan The Mediocre Posted: June 21, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2412065)
This deal makes sense if they're after an upgrade at SS or RF. A big upgrade at either position puts the Cubs in a much better position than they've been in all year.

If Hendry is able to improve either position, and Bowen keeps hitting, the Cubs should be passing the Brewers by August.
   10. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 21, 2007 at 05:40 PM (#2412105)
Nobody's forgetting that Bowen hit well the last 2 years in limited time in San Diego. The problem for Bowen is that nobody's forgetting that aside from the less than 200 PA in his career that says he can play in the majors and be good, there are nearly 2000 PA in his career that says that he likely won't.

The smart money is to be that, just like Ryan Theriot went back to being Ryan Theriot, Rob Bowen will find his inner Rob Bowen.
   11. VG Posted: June 21, 2007 at 05:46 PM (#2412114)
The smart money is to be that, just like Ryan Theriot went back to being Ryan Theriot, Rob Bowen will find his inner Rob Bowen.

Also, Michael Barrett may return to hitting as he did in 2004-06. He is, however, old enough that his results so far this season could be the start of his full decline, as Szym alluded to above. Perhaps his batted-ball data for this season offer some clues.
   12. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 21, 2007 at 06:19 PM (#2412160)
This deal makes sense if they're after an upgrade at SS or RF. A big upgrade at either position puts the Cubs in a much better position than they've been in all year.

I don't really see how this deal has anything to do with the possibility of a big upgrade at SS or RF. The Cubs pretty clearly traded down at the catcher position - Barrett projects as a better major-league catcher going forward statistically than Rob Bowen and I really don't see how anyone could think any differently. That said, for non-statistical reasons, this might nevertheless be a good trade for the Cubs.

But I don't see how this trade makes any difference at either of the other two positions. The Cubs are paying most of Barrett's salary so this doesn't save much money ($800,000 minus whatever Bowen's making, I think), and it basically leaves both the 25- and 40-man rosters untouched (Bowen replaces Barrett).

Certainly, SS and RF are the two biggest weaknesses the Cubs have right now and you're right that "[a] big upgrade at either position puts the Cubs in a much better position than they've been in all year", but that's no more true now than it was before they traded Barrett.

If Hendry is able to improve either position, and Bowen keeps hitting, the Cubs should be passing the Brewers by August.

I think you're under-rating the Brewers. Of course, I also think that it's very unlikely that either of your qualifiers (Hendry improves SS or RF and Bowen keeps hitting) will come to pass, so ultimately your rating of the Brewers is likely going to remain irrelevant and untested.
   13. zonk Posted: June 21, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2412174)
Why are so many people so down the Brewers? Recent history?

I look at the Brewers and I see a really nice team with few weaknesses... maybe you'd like a deeper bullpen, a deeper rotation (who wouldn't?) - but beyond that, I think there's a lot to like. Now that Yost seems to have finally realized Corey Hart should be playing every day and the Crew has also realized that Ryan Braun should be at 3B -- Weeks/Hall/Fielder/Braun/Hart... that's a damn nice core for the lineup, even with JJ Hardy coming back down to earth.

Once Capuano comes back, I like the rotation, too... Sheets health may always be a worry, but he's certainly an ace, not a #1.5 starter masquerading as an ace. Cap's a fine #2 and Gollardo looks like a future stud.

With so much youth leading the way - I suppose there are going to be inevitable ups and downs, but on the whole -- I see them getting better as the year (and years) progress, not slipping back to the pack.
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 21, 2007 at 06:36 PM (#2412186)
I have to agree with zonk, and I think people also underestimate the advantage afforded by the Brewers' ability to trade for help, should it become necessary. They have decent farm depth and some payroll room to play with, and Melvin's willing to roll the dice when an opportunity presents itself.
   15. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: June 22, 2007 at 02:51 AM (#2412655)
8.5
   16. SouthSideRyan Posted: June 22, 2007 at 04:58 AM (#2412708)
You have been really all over this trade. What, given the current circumstances with Barrett do you believe should have been done differently? Or do you just think that Barrett is being unfairly treated by the people on this site?


I think it's the same case that it's been for as long as I can remember with the Cubs focusing on what a guy can't do rather than what he's bringing to the table. I personally would've kept the status quo. If you want to have Zambrano have Hill(or preferrably Soto) as his personal catcher, then that's fine but this team can't afford to lose Barrett's offense. I don't believe for a second that this is the beginning of some precipitous decline. Barrett converted to catcher at a late age, so he shouldn't have the same shortened career arc as a guy who's been catching since high school. Barrett had a terrible start, and has been showing signs of being his normal self since then.

This offseason, assuming Barrett didn't fall off the cliff the rest of the year, I'd have offered arb to Barrett. You either get him back on a 1 year, pretty affordable deal, or you get the draft picks for him. Rob Bowen and a worthless low A tools guy is not worth the draft picks to me. It's possible Bowen turned the corner for whatever reason but his minor league numbers do not point to a guy that's any sort of answer at catcher.

Soto has been hitting the hell out of the ball this year at AAA, and he has put up decent OBPs the past couple years. I wanted him as the backup to begin with this year but instead we flushed money down the toilet on a 2 YEAR deal for Blanco. My point being that if Barrett wasn't back next year, I'd just as soon give the job to Soto, thus satisfying all the defensive catcher fetishes, and maybe find a guy who can actually hit to go with it.

I wish the best for Barrett, he deserves better than the treatment this organization gave him after he broke out for us.
   17. zonk Posted: June 22, 2007 at 12:54 PM (#2412805)
Though he shifted back to 3B for half a season in AA (and then again during his time with the Expos) -- Barrett was shifted to C his very first year in the Expos system... I'm not buying that the 60 or so games he didn't spend at C in high school adds much to his longetivity.

And yes, this is complete snark -

But we sure missed him yesterday ;-) (0-4 3 Ks, yet another PB).
   18. Walt Davis Posted: June 22, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2413254)
I don't think the Cubs got enough in return but the key point is the Cubs didn't really give up much. Even if Barrett turns it around this season, a half-season of good Barrett wasn't really gonna make the Cubs a contender. I wasn't particularly interested in them re-signing him (though I haven't looked at who else will be available). A couple years of cheap Bowen and a draft bust or .5 seasons of Barrett and 1-2 draft picks is not likely to be a major difference.
   19. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: June 22, 2007 at 11:02 PM (#2413256)
I think Zambrano was happy to have Bowen today.

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