I would say the start of this year’s Major League Baseball offseason has been the strangest start we have seen in quite some time. I say this because we have seen some puzzling moves so far.

Case in point: The trade between the Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros on Thursday.


The Rockies sent SS/2B Clint Barmes to the Astros for RHP Felipe Paulino. I am really baffled as to why the Astros traded for Barmes.

I am baffled because the Astros could have acquired Barmes in a couple of weeks for nothing. It’s not like teams were banging down Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowds’ door asking for Barmes.

Coming off a .235/.305/.351 season with eight HRs in 432 PAs in 2010 and slated to make around $4 million in arbitration, Barmes was a prime non-tender candidate in December. I really don’t understand why Astros’ GM Ed Wade didn’t wait a couple of more weeks to see what the Rockies were going to do with Barmes.

Then again, I don’t understand a lot of things Wade does.

According to various reports, Wade has already told Barmes that he will be playing shortstop for the Astros in 2010. While Barmes is a plus defensive shortstop (career 12.3 UZR at the position), he’s a guy who has hit .224 with a .618 OPS away from Coors Field in his career.

Barmes will replace the offensively challenged Tommy Manzella at short. Manzella is a no-hit, good-glove shortstop that probably would have value to a team if he played in the 60s or 70s, but in today’s game, he is useless.

Manzella is a homeless man’s Mark Belanger.

Manzella was so inept last year that he produced at a negative WAR. -0.6 to be exact. So Barmes does represent an upgrade over Manzella in that regard, but not by much. Barmes only produced to a 0.4 WAR in 2010.

In return for Barmes, the Rockies received a young, power arm in Paulino. Paulino, despite having the ability to throw in the mid-90s, has yet to find himself in the major leagues.

Paulino has a 5.83 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 8.08 K/9 and a 42.2 Groundball Percentage in 208.1 career Major League innings. The issue with Paulino is control. Paulino has walked over 4.5 batters per nine innings his career.

Paulino’s role with the Rockies has yet to be defined. If the Rockies don’t bring back Jorge de la Rosa (looking like he will sign somewhere else) or sign Kevin Millwood, Javier Vazquez or Jon Garland, Paulino could find himself in the starting rotation.

Barmes is a slight upgrade over Manzella at short for the Astros, but because of his salary and the fact that the Astros could have waited a couple of weeks to acquire him, Houston lost out on this trade.

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