Astros Acquire Barmes, Swap Paulino with Rockies
One of the many struggles the Houston Astros faced in 2010 was a lack of production from their middle infield. Second baseman Jeff Keppinger had a solid season, posting career highs in most offensive categories while amassing a total of 575 plate appearances. However, the Astros failed to find consistent production at shortstop which became a revolving door over the course of their season. Rookie Tommy Manzella struggled at the plate to a .225/.264/.267 line before missing a good deal of time due to injury. Veteran Geoff Blum spent some time at shortstop but doesn’t have the range to comfortably handle the position on an everyday basis and has since left via free agency for Arizona. And Angel Sanchez hit well once acquired from Boston midseason but struggled towards the end.
Clint Barmes, who the Astros acquired from Colorado this afternoon, should help alleviate some of that concern going into 2011. Barmes has spent time at both second base and shortstop during his time in Colorado and can handle both positions well. Offensively he should be an improvement over the team’s alternative options and his swing should play well at Minute Maid Park. 2010 was a struggle for Barmes after coming off of a career high 23 home run season in 2009. Yet, he still holds a career line of .254/.300/.404 in just over 2,500 plate appearances.
In exchange for Barmes, the Rockies are receiving Felipe Paulino. He has split time over the past two seasons between Houston’s rotation and bullpen with limited success. Over his career he holds a 6-21 record, with a 5.83 ERA, 8.1 K/9, and 4.5 BB/9. The righty will be arbitration eligible as a Super Two this winter but ultimately will be under team control for the next four seasons. It is unclear what role he will fill with Colorado but his versatility should give the team options.
Barmes was a likely non-tender candidate so Colorado did well to get something in exchange for him. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Astros GM Ed Wade says Barmes was a target due to his defensive versatility and gap power. Paulino should benefit from a change of scenery as he was largely inconsistent during his tenure with the Astros.