If Clint Barmes never got another major league at bat, he’d still always be remembered for the injury he sustained in the summer of 2005 while carrying deer meat up the stairs of his apartment building. He talked about that in the Houston Chronicle yesterday. This part struck me:
Barmes was a .318 hitter in 86 major league games before the mishap. He has batted .244 in 579 games since.
“It’s one of those things where everybody is like, ‘What would have happened if I didn’t get hurt?’ ” Barmes said. “I’ve thought about that. I’m not going to lie.”
Before 2005 he had two cups of coffee in which he didn’t hit terribly well. Before that, in six minor league seasons, he didn’t hit significantly better than he has in his major league career.
I’m not suggesting that his collar bone injury had no effect on him — I broke my collar bone 17 years ago and I still feel some random effects from it — but is it not possible that his 86-game hot start in 2005 was a tad fluky? Only once in his career before that stretch had he hit above .300, and that was on his second go-around at AAA at age 25 in extremely hitter-friendly Colorado Springs.
The collar bone injury makes for a good story — and Barmes even credits the injury for him getting serious with the woman he went on to marry — but I don’t think it’s at all clear that, but for the injury, Barmes would be winning batting titles and making eight figure salaries.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.