In a surprise move today, the Colorado Rockies move 2B/INF Clint Barmes for RHP Felipe Paulino.
Barmes, 31, was the Rockies' opening day SS in 2005 and 2006, and won the 2B job in the 2008 season and played there primarily in 2009 and 2010, while also backing up Troy Tulowitzki at SS.
Barmes, a 10th round pick out of Indiana State, was known as a strong glove man, playing elite defense at both SS and 2B. His bat, however was the trouble. Barmes is notorious for finding hot streaks where he's borderline unflappable, but then hits low points where any bench player seems to be a more palatable option at the plate. Barmes' best season at the plate came in 2008 when the position was a potpourri of Jayson Nix, Jeff Baker, and Clint Barmes, and Barmes ultimately won out because of not only his glove and ability to turn the double play well with Tulowitzki, but also thanks to his .290/.322/.468 (.344 wOBA, 102 wRC+) batting line.
Since 2008, Barmes' bat has fallen back off, posting an 80 wRC+ in 2009 and 67 in 2010. Clint was a non-tender candidate, given the competition from Eric Young Jr, Chris Nelson, and Jonathan Herrera.
Barmes likely will be competing with Tommy Manzella for the starting SS position in Houston, and possibly with Jeff Keppinger for 2B. Either way, there's going to be playing time for Barmes.
Felipe Paulino is an interesting pitcher. He sits about 95-96 with his fastball, mixes in a decent slider and dabbles with a changeup and curveball. He's struggled in Houston, but shows the ability to eat a lot of innings as a long man.
Paulino's strength is the strikeout, and he's punched out 8.08 batters per 9 in his career, but his weaknesses include walks (3.89 career BB9), a disturbingly high BABIP (career .348), and trouble keeping the ball in the park (career 1.25 HR9) - although last season, Paulino only allowed 4 homers in over 90 innings of work.
Paulino's career ERA sits at an unsightly 5.83, but a 4.51 FIP (4.37 xFIP) suggests that the Colorado defense may be able to help him a bit. Still, the hittable nature of Paulino will likely be exaggerated by Coors Field, but here's to hoping that Bob Apodaca can do something with Paulino.
2 quick thoughts.
First, Paulino may provide the live arm that Delcarmen may not, and the two seem somewhat complementary (hard fastball, RHP), so it may be a battle for a roster spot between the two of them.
Second, Barmes was going to be non-tendered anyhow. The Rockies received a MLB player for him, so at least there was some sort of return on him. That's a positive.