Thursday, November 09, 2006

Two Sides to Every Deal

Right now, the Tribe is getting kudos from the local media for its acquisition of San Diego Padres second baseman Josh Barfield. I like the deal too, although a prospect like Kevin Kouzmanoff is a big price to pay for the team's inept handling of Brandon Phillips. If you read Terry Pluto's column this morning, you'll see that he includes quotes about Barfield from a San Diego sportswriter named Tim Sullivan that would lead you to believe he's likely to be despondent about this deal. Well, he isn't.

Bud Shaw writes about the Tribe's revolving door at second base, implying that it somehow matters. Others don't think so. "Second basemen are like 50-watt bulbs compared with the neon brilliance of a third baseman with pop. They are easily replaced; highly expendable. When you get an opportunity to acquire a hitter of Kevin Kouzmanoff's potential, baseball percentages tell you to pounce." Who says so? San Diego Union-Tribune columnist Tim Sullivan in his column this morning.

While Cleveland emphasizes Barfield's defensive brilliance and the potential improvement in his numbers resulting from a move to a hitter's park, San Diego counters with the fact that Barfield ranked 31st in OBP among second basemen with more than 100 appearances and besides, chicks dig the long ball. Plus, from the Padres' perspective, there's the fact that the free agent market for second basemen is pretty solid this season, and includes SoCal native and former Padre Mark Loretta. Based on Sullivan's column, it sounds like Loretta already has his bags packed.

Who got the better of this deal? We'll know in a few years. Right now, I'd give the nod to the Tribe. Kouzmanoff's a great hitting prospect, but with his history of injuries, I'm a little surprised to see a National League team this hot to get him. But there are always two sides to every deal. Shapiro probably had the best comment about the deal when he said that "We gave up players we liked. No trade is an easy trade. But [Barfield's] a player we're very happy to get."

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