Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trade Winds are Blowing

Ding! Ding!

Welcome to San Diego Michael Barrett. The much maligned Chicago Cub catcher has been traded to the San Diego Padres today for Rob Bowen and a minor leaguer (Kyler Burker from Single A). Many know Michael Barrett more for his punches then his catching, having been in the infamous fight with A.J. Pierzynski (pictured) and of course his fight with Carlos Zambrano eariler this year. He was also in a supposed shouting match with Cubs starter Rich Hill earlier this year.

Now, what does this do for the Padres? Well, obviously Josh Bard is not performing up to the .333 avg he had last year, currently batting .253. Worst of course, is that Josh Bard has more often than not found himself in the number 5 hole with that .253 avg. Certainly, if you want to look at an entire body of work, Barrett is an upgrade offensively, batting .287 for a career at Wrigley with a home run every 21 at-bats. Petco is no Wrigley. No short fences, no wind to help push the ball out, just deep alleys. So, are the Padres getting the hitting for avg and power Barrett or the 5-33 slumping Barrett that shoved the Cubs starting pitcher? One hopes for the former and perhaps a change of scenary will do the trick.

The next issue of course is Josh Bard. Who is the Padres starting catcher? Finanicially speaking, the Padres are only paying $700,000 for Barrett with the Cubs picking up the rest of Barrett's salary ($2.2 million still due) so it's not a slam dunk that Barrett steps into the starters role. What's more, how will Barrett and his hot head match with the Padres pitchers such as Jake Peavy. Certainly, anything that disrupts this rotation is devasting. At the same time Josh Bard has not been hitting as hoped and is not performing stellar behind the plate (dropped ball at the plate last night is only one of many examples). But, he is catching the best pitching staff in the majors so he must be doing something right.

Overall, the Barrett trade is an upgrade in offense, a draw on defense and a very large question mark on temper. Maybe Barrett just needed a change of venue. Maybe playing for a winning team will do him good. Maybe not. But if the Padres pitchers don't match well with him, Barrett has to go.

Finally, let's hope this is not the move Kevin Towers had planned to protect Adrian Gonzalez. I don't think it is as the talks had just begun a few days ago (presumably when San Diego was in Chicago). My bet is Kevin Towers is still mulling ideas over. The Padres catching core offensively has been dismal and this looks like an inexpensive way to potentially fix it...hopefully, not at the expense of the pitching staff. I give Towers the benefit of the doubt, after all, he brought Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Bard, and Cla Meredith here for next to nothing.

Coming Up:

Boston Series Preview Tomorrow. How Big Is a Series in June Really?


maddy said...

What is this plan that is needed to protect Gonzalez? Protect him from what?

GTH said...

Protect him in the lineup. Otherwise teams will just pitch around him.

maddy said...

Ohhhhhhhh... ya... makes sense. Thanks for the clarification!

By the way... I forgot to tell you: the Thursday day game attendance: 40,000+!!!! Can you believe it??? Isn't that amazing for a 12:35 weekday start vs. the Orioles???