Astros get Clint Barmes from Rockies for Felipe Paulino

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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.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?