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.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.