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Padres/Indians Trade Analysis !
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Padres/Indians Trade Analysis
by Keith Glab,
November 9, 2006

The Padres and Indians kick-started this offseason's wheeling and dealing with an intriguing three player deal.  The Padres dealt Josh Barfield in exchange for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andrew Brown.

The trade made sense for both teams.  The Indians desperately needed second base help, and already possessed a glut of corner infielders with Andy Marte at third, Ryan Garko at first, Travis Hafner entrenched at DH, and Victor Martinez' defensive skills deteriorating so badly that he might only be viable as a first baseman/designated hitter by next year.  However, Josh Barfield might not have been the best solution, at least on offense.    

Barfield carried the Padres offense in July, hitting .400 for the month and striking out just 9 times in 100 at bats.  Yet he was just a .253 hitter for the rest of the year.  His plate discipline is nearly as uninspiring as his father's was, although he does both walk and strike out less.  He currently has doubles power, and there's a good chance that Cleveland is betting on his eventual development of some legitimate home run sock.

But what he lacks on offense, he may make up for on defense.  The lackadaisical play that plagued him in the minors was absent in his rookie season.  His solid play helped the Padres turn ground balls into outs more efficiently than 27 other teams last year.  The Indians possess one of the most prolific groundball pitcher in the game in Jake Westbrook, and in the absence of Ron Belliard (a dandy glove man in his own right), this proves to be a solid pickup to the Tribe, and they didn't lose anyone they were going to rely on this year to get him.

But this move also benefits the Padres, who haven't had a real good season from a third baseman in five years.  Kouzmanoff was a monster at Triple-A last year.  While he isn't a lock to be the next Ken Caminiti, he's a step in the right direction for this franchise.

The move leads me to believe that the Friars will re-sign Todd Walker, who will still remain one of the best bargains in baseball.  He couldn't handle the transition to third base last season, and is merely steady at second, but year in and year out he's one of the best offensive second basemen around.  His plate patience had among the best in baseball, and that even improved last year.  The defense isn't as important to the Padres, who fittingly have a flyball pitching staff in a cavernous ballpark, led by Chris Young.  Walker and Kouzmanoff will look a lot better overall in the 4 and 5 defensive slots than Barfield and Vinny Castilla did last season, I guarantee.

Andrew Brown, meanwhile, is a decent reliever who put up good numbers at Triple-A, then hit serious control problems in the majors.  I expect him to put up good numbers in PetCo, but nothing superior to what a guy like Jon Adkins provided last year.  He's a slight adjusment to the scales that makes this an even fairer trade, a good one that looks to benefit both ballclubs.


Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith resides in Chicago, IL, and can be reached at

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