Among the many reasons why Houston trading for Clint Barmes two months ago struck me as a misguided move is that he was in line for a sizable salary via arbitration and … well, he just isn’t very good.
Sure enough, today the Astros avoided arbitration with Barmes by signing him to a one-year deal worth $3.925 million, which is pretty crazy for someone who hit .236 with a .656 OPS last season and has a measly .704 career OPS despite calling Coors Field home for eight years.
Barmes has been horrendous on the road throughout his career, hitting just .224 with a ghastly .266 on-base percentage and .352 slugging percentage. And we’re not talking about some small sample of playing time here. He’s logged 1,264 awful plate appearances away from Planet Coors.
He’s a good defender at either middle infield spot and the Astros were in need of a shortstop, but Barmes’ bat is utility man-caliber at best and making a trade for the right to pay him $4 million this season is all kinds of wrong.
The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.
We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”
Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.