Houston Acquires Clint Barmes

Ed Wade and Dan O’Dowd combined for a straightforward deal of major leaguers.

Clint Barmes turns 32 in early March. It’s a little early to start setting depth charts, but one has to figure Barmes will be under serious consideration to start at shortstop in place of Tommy Manzella and Angel Sanchez. Part of that consideration may stem from his price tag (more than $4 million) which could have led to a non-tender from Colorado. The book on Barmes begins and ends with defense since he profiles as a plus defender at either middle infield position. His leather is slick enough that Colorado kept him at short during the 2006 season despite racking up -41.7 park-adjusted batting runs.

There are few tools in Barmes’ offensive shed. He rejects the theory of walks (although 8.1% last season did represent a career high by a fair margin) and his aggressive approach leads to more strikeouts than one would come to expect from a light-hitting defensive-first (and usually only) middle infielder. When Barmes does make contact, the ball is usually going places by air delivery (career flyball rate of roughly 48%). That approach leads to home runs and extra bases in Coors, but that skill set could take some knocks with a transition to a lesser hitting environment.

The upside with Barmes is that he will hit lefties (wRC+ 2010-2008: 90, 102, and 137). The downside is that he will not hit righties (wRC+ 2010-2008: 56, 76, and 85). Right-handers dominate the league’s starting pitching population, which explains Barmes’ overall unimpressive numbers (WRC+ 2010-2008: 67, 80, and 102). He’d make a nice platoon candidate, but as a fulltime starter expect a bumpy offensive line come year’s end.

In exchange, the Astros send Felipe Paulino to Colorado. The 27-year-old has a career FIP of 4.51 and xFIP of 4.37. His ERA, though, is 5.83. He’s struggled with home runs, walks, and hits at various points in his major league career despite a blazing fastball (that averaged 95 miles per hour last season) and an effective slider. Paulino’s struggles have come mostly against lefties, who own a collective .331/.420/.561 line against him through his career. Paulino has kept righties in check better (.268/.326/.415) which suggests his true calling might be that of a middle reliever.

Houston will be mocked for this trade to various degrees. Not because they gave up a high-upside arm like Paulino, but because they did so to acquire a mediocre talent that might have been available at a lesser cost in a matter of weeks. As it stands, Colorado did well to get something in return for Barmes, and particularly well for the return to have upside.

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37 Responses to “Houston Acquires Clint Barmes”

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  1. this guy says:

    No explanation for this one. I’m checking Barmes’ lineage in search of ties to the Bush family.

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    • B N says:

      He’s a scrub, I believe they’re related to bushes.

      +27 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TJ says:

      This guy should be banned. I’m sick of him and I’m sure everybody else is.

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      • Danmay says:

        I thought the Bush family was affliated with the Rangers? Do they attend Astros games too?

        TJ why no love for ‘This guy’ ? did he piss all over you team? You a big clint barmes fan?

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      • this guy says:

        I stopped returning his mom’s calls. TJ thought he was finally getting a daddy.

        -8 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Patrick says:


        It helps if you’ve been reading for a while, though the reaction here seems odd.

        This particular post is fine – and rather funny, to my mind – but quite a lot of the rest of what “this guy” says is extremely rude and insulting towards the writers and other commenters.

        He actively trolls quite a bit, and occasionally posts productive things.

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      • Danmay says:

        oh, ok Patty. Just cause you disagree with someone doesn’t mean you need to get your panties all in a bunch. Say for example, if I don’t like Carson’s articles, I don’t read them. If you don’t like his comments then ignore them. I’m not sure why this is so hard.

        If you are gonna start a list of folks to ban hammer along with ‘this guy’ then please add anyone that ever writes: “This” or “+1” too please.

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    • cs3 says:

      why does fangraphs allow constant thread wrecking by certain posters?
      “this guy” has proven to be nothing but an argumentative troll looking for attention. he never writes anything constructive and always runs the discussion off its course with his mindless rants at the expense of readers who actually enjoy the content and try to take part in meaningful conversation.

      there needs to to be some kind of moderation put in place so that posters like “this guy” can either have their IP address banned or their comments deleted. i think almost every other reader would agree.

      +21 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • John says:

        I have said this exact same thing and even told them to email me so I could do it. Of course, the admins of the site never actually address anything.

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      • Patrick says:

        Though he in this instance was funny – and I thought, harmless – I agree strongly about “this guy” in general.

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      • Jason B says:

        Agreed – this anger seems misplaced on this particular thread. The lead comment was harmless enough and kinda amusing.

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      • bzl says:

        IP address ban doesn’t(or may not) mean much…myself, i have mobile broadband and i get a new/different IP address every time i log on….

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  2. The Rockies had zero use for Barmes on their team with Tulo at SS, EYJr/Chris Nelson at 2B and Ian Stewart at 3B. Paulino is a young arm and gives the Rox some decent return value.

    The real question is what the Astros see in Barmes and how will he fit in their infield.

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    • Dirty Platypus says:

      As much as I believe in Chris Nelson and as much as my Dynasty team could use EY2’s speed, I fully expect the Rockies to hand the job over to Jonathan Herrera next spring. Not because it’s the right choice, but because my gut tells me that’s what they’ll do (if they don’t trade for or sign a veteran).

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  3. kenshin says:

    “an affective slider”. I envision a pitch consumed by self-doubt over a lack of vertical movement.

    +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Mike says:

    “He’s struggled with home runs…”

    There’s not much upside for this at Coors Field.

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    • Locke says:

      Well, the rox were accused of cheating by the Giants last year, with extra humidifed balls from the special team only humidifier…so maybe they are banking on that angle.

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    • Alireza says:

      Home runs aren’t the issue at Coors now as much as poor movement on pitches for movement-reliant pitchers (ask Derek Lowe about that). The humidor fixed the dry-air related ball travel issues but couldn’t keep sinkers from hanging in the zone.

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  5. BX says:

    Wouldn’t Paulino’s FIP be much higher if not for that ridiculously unsustainable HR/FB rate in 2010?

    Just curious.

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  6. odbsol says:

    Well, Houston is much flatter so maybe the comparable lack of stairs will be in his favor.

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  7. mymrbig says:

    Its worth noting that Paulino has missed a good bit of time in his career with injuries. I don’t love the trade for the Astros, but getting asolid defender at SS who isn’t quite as embarassing with the bat as Manzella is an OK move for the Astros.

    Basically, the Rockies should be applauded, but the Astros should not be mocked.

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  8. JP says:

    Yeah Paulino has such a problem with allowing home runs that he allowed four all season in 2010.

    This is a steal for Colorado. When healthy, Paulino has great raw stuff, and had a very good mid-season run of about a dozen starts.

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  9. AA says:

    Paulino’s out of options, and if Ed Wade intends to make a pitching pick-up on the free agent market this off-season, then Paulino would have been the guy bumped from the starting rotation. Maybe Houston could then have stuck him in the bullpen, but that wouldn’t necessarily fix his control issues. Wade gave Paulino an ultimatum last spring, calling it “high noon” for him, and Paulino didn’t perform up to snuff. At some point you’ve got to cut your losses, and Paulino’s been in Houston’s system since 2003.

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  10. My echo and bunnymen says:

    Wait, give me minute…… Yeah the shit’s hit the fan alright.

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  11. OremLK says:

    I just don’t understand why the Astros wouldn’t simply wait for Barmes to be non-tendered then overpay him out of free agency. Now they’re going to overpay him AND give up a pitcher with upside. Silly.

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  12. cs3 says:

    RE. this guy

    “I have said this exact same thing and even told them to email me so I could do it. Of course, the admins of the site never actually address anything.”

    i dont understand why fangraphs admins just sit back and allow this to happen. its not difficult all to stop but they just dont eem to care.

    do the writers not care either?

    RJ, Dave, Carson, you thoughts on this problem please?

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  13. John says:

    Hopefully Barmes doesn’t have any meat to haul around his apartment or the Astros are gonna need a back up plan.

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    • OremLK says:

      They went through all last season with Tommy Manzella (0.6 wins below replacement) and Angel Sanchez (0.3 wins below replacement) as their everyday shortstops. Sad as it is, Barmes will be an upgrade.

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  14. CJ says:

    As an Astros’ fan, I consider this a steal for the Rockies. Paulino performed well as a starter last year. He had a 3.22 FIP and a 4.57 x-FIP as a starter. And he has the upside as a top of the rotation pitcher. The downside is that he may be an injury risk. (However, he has never undergone arm surgery…so he isn’t in the same category of risk as players coming off surgery rehab.) Paulino has never performed well as a reliever, and if you separate his starting and relief stats, you will see that his performance has been pretty decent.

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  15. Alireza says:

    Barmes might be helped in Houston, given that he is a fly ball right-handed pull hitter with that ultra-short LF.

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