Colorado has traded infielder Clint Barmes to Houston for right-hander Felipe Paulino.
Barmes was once the Rockies’ starting shortstop, but moved to second base when Troy Tulowitzki arrived in 2006 and is coming off a horrendous year at the plate, hitting just .235 with a lowly .656 OPS despite calling Coors Field home.
At times Barmes has posted some solid-looking raw numbers, but for the most part he’s been mediocre even with a hitter-friendly ballpark on his side and has batted just .224 with a .266 on-base percentage and .352 slugging percentage on the road during his career. Those are horrendous numbers, even for a good defensive middle infielder like Barmes and even for a team like the Astros that was in the market for a starting shortstop.
Take him away from Coors Field and Barmes has been a utility man-caliber player at best, so it makes sense that he was traded for a pitcher with a 5.83 career ERA. Paulino was awful for the Astros, going 6-21 with that ugly ERA in 208 innings, but he did rack up 187 strikeouts and has very good raw stuff with a mid-90s fastball and high-80s slider. I think Paulino still has a chance to be a pretty solid pitcher, but between his awful performance so far and various injury problems it’s tough to blame the Astros for giving up on him.
Giving up on him in order to acquire Barmes, of course, is another issue.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has already made a pair of mistakes in left field and he’s only four innings into the first game of the best-of-five NLDS against the Dodgers.
Leading off the second inning, Justin Turner sent a well-struck liner to Cuddyer which was quite catchable, but the ball clanked off of the veteran’s glove. Turner was credited with a double. Mets starter Jacob deGrom was able to work around the misplay, striking out Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis, and Clayton Kershaw to close out the frame.
With two outs in the third inning, Corey Seager sent a fly ball down the left field line. Cuddyer took an inefficient route and the ball bounced about a foot inside the foul line, then into the stands, giving Seager a ground-rule double. To add insult to injury, Cuddyer ended up tumbling over the fence. deGrom, again, worked around Cuddyer’s mistake, striking out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning.
Because he bats right-handed, Cuddyer got the start in left field over the left-handed-hitting rookie Michael Conforto against Kershaw, a southpaw. Conforto mustered only a .481 OPS against lefties this season compared to Cuddyer’s .698. Despite the batting disparity, one wonders how short a leash manager Terry Collins has on Cuddyer given his defense.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning, belting a solo home run to right field at Dodger Stadium off of starter Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw threw a 2-0, 94 MPH fastball and Murphy didn’t miss it.
Both teams’ starters are pitching quite well overall. Kershaw has allowed the one run on three hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Jacob deGrom started off the game with six consecutive strikeouts and has struck out seven total while blanking the Dodgers on three hits and a walk in three innings.
Kershaw doesn’t have the most impressive post-season track record, owning a career 5.12 ERA across eight starts and three relief appearances spanning 51 innings. Aside from the homer, the lefty appears to be putting that notion aside.
Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal reports that the value of a qualifying offer for free agents this off-season has been set at $15.8 million. That represents an increase of a half-million dollars over last year’s value.
This is of particular interest with regards to the big-name free agents, including Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Yovani Gallardo, Jordan Zimmermann, and Jeff Samardzija.
Teams that make a qualifying offer to a player that ends up being rejected receive a compensation draft pick in the upcoming draft. The team that signs the player who rejected a qualifying offer gives up their earliest non-protected draft pick.
Free agents who had been traded mid-season aren’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer. This includes Yoenis Cespedes, David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Ben Zobrist, among others.
A player has yet to accept a qualifying offer since the QO system was implemented.