Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Grin and Barrett Part II

Saw this nugget of joy from The Sporting News’ Stan McNeal last week:

One thing to keep in mind about next Tuesday's nonwaiver trading deadline: Deals don't always help teams. Last month, the Cubs sent C Michael Barrett to the Padres for C Rob Bowen, who went 2-for-31 and was dumped on the A's for C Jason Kendall. Back in the N.L. Central, Kendall, a longtime Pirate, was hitless in his first eight at-bats with the Cubs and was booed near the end of his first game.

Just for the record: the Barrett trade went down on 21 June. Since then, the Cubs’ record stands at 26-12 (not counting tonight’s game, which is in progress as I write this). The Padres’ mark in the same time period is 19-21.

The Cubs were 8 and a half games behind Milwaukee when the trade was made. Now, we’re a game out of first. San Diego was in first place before they got Barrett. Now, they trail Arizona by a game and a half.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m piling on Barrett. I don’t think he’s a bad person, or a cancer in the clubhouse. Nor do I blame him for the many dumb things irate Cub Fan has blamed him for this year.

I do mean to take McNeal to task for his narrow focus. If, as many people have said, winning is what matters, why not mention in passing how the teams’ records have changed since the trade went down?

McNeal is right to point out how horrible Rob Bowen was for us. But he also failed to mention that Barrett was doing his best Bowen imitation in San Diego – to date as a Friar, Barrett has hit .227/.235/.289. That’s Ausmus bad.

And, yes, mean old Cub Fans booed Jason Kendall his first game at Wrigley. But even with the size eight collar he took to start his Cubs career, Kendall has hit .244/.354/.317 – not enough to make anyone forget Gabby Hartnett, but at least he’s getting on base enough to keep him from being totally useless.

I don’t know the Barrett deal has helped or hurt us. It might be prudent to reserve judgment until the end of the season, and not rush to give a big thumbs down after two games…

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