The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Kouz gone; Barfield in

Posted by disappointmentzone on 8 November 2006

Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andrew Brown were traded this afternoon to the San Diego Padres for 2B Josh Barfield. This is a fantastic deal for the Indians. In one swift move GM Mark Shapiro:

1) Filled the most glaring roster hole. Barfield is a speedy player with a solid OBP. In his rookie campaign last season he hit .280/.318/.423 with 21 steals. Just about your prototypical lead-off hitter. This means Grady Sizemore can finally move down in the lineup, probably to the #3 spot, which in turn gives the Indians flexibility with Victor Martinez, who probably won’t have to bat as high in the order as he did this season. This in turn could lead to improved defense on Martinez’s part since he won’t be as demanding a spot for a hitter. Indians fans have been waiting for a hitter to bump Sizemore. Looks like he’s here.

2) Shored up the infield defense. Barfield’s .987 fielding percentage was the third-best among AL second basemen in 2006.

3) Gave Garko a clear path to the starting 1B job.

4) Which in turn solidified a possible roster conflict with Kouzmanoff and Garko both playing 1B. The 25-man roster is closer to set than it was a week ago.

5) Acquired a top-notch second baseman without spending any money.
5a) That second basemen is a beautiful five years away from free agency. This might be the best aspect of the deal that likely won’t get much consideration. Not only did the Indians not have to spend money now. The Indians won’t have to spend money in the immediate future, either.

6) All this was accomplished while keeping the starting rotation in tact.

Excellent.

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4 Responses to “Kouz gone; Barfield in”

  1. jon said

    the five years away from FA is a good thing. shapiro or not, the indians are cheap and would let barfield walk if this was a 1-2 year deal and he earned more money than they anticipated, but I didnt have to tell you that.

    I have a friend who is a padres fan so I’ll have to ask him what he thinks of this. Do you think Garko is really that much better than Kouz? kouz was fucking lights out when he was called up and I really wanted to see brown succeed as an indian, best of luck to both them.

    How are you doing anyways?

  2. Erik said

    I’m with you on the defense and the fact that this shores up a gaping hole in the lineup at minimal cost, hopefully (HOPEFULLY) opening the door for the Indians to spend some decent cash on other positions.

    I am not, however, sold on Barfield being the guy who is going to make everything all right at the top of the order. I tend to agree with Bud Shaw that Barfield, for the time being, is a bottom of the order hitter. Sizemore will in all likelyhood start next season hitting leadoff.

    This deal is a double-edged sword because now you are basically handing the corner infield positions to Marte and Garko, neither of whom have proven they deserve their jobs uncontested. I think they still need to be pushed. As much as we all love Gark, mark my words, he will struggle next year as pitchers round out their scouting reports on him.

    Kouzmanoff could have been used to get a back-end bullpen guy, which will be really hard to come by in free agency. With one of Shapiro’s biggest trade bullets now fired, I wonder what he is going to do about the ‘pen. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of options, and it’s worst part of the team.

  3. Sizemore will likely start the season hitting in the 1 hole, you are right. But I really think that Barfield has the potential to replace him by the middle of the season, and then for down the road. He put up solid numbers playing at Petco, a pretty terrible hitters’ park. Coming to the Jake (or whatever it’ll be called) should help him. His away splits were very impressive: .319/.355/.484.

    As for Garko and Kouz, I think Garko is better, although Kouz had an outstanding season last year and will probably turn into an everyday player. That said, finding an everyday 1B is much easier than finding an everyday 2B. The relaive value of Barfield is higher than Kouz, at least right now and at least for the Indians.

    Garko hasn’t earned the starting 1B job in the way that Sizemore has earned the starting CF job, but I think this is probably for the best. Last season while in AAA Garko (and to some extent Marte, too) was trying too hard I think to get called up. If Kouz were still around some of the same fears would probably plague him. There’s always Blake available to play 1B, too. I doubt Garko will put up a .290 BA next season, but if he’s in the .270-.280 range with the same power he’ll do just fine.

    The bullpen is probably next on the list of things to fix. Finding a 9th inning guy is most important. Bullpen quality across baseball tends to change somewhat wildly from season to season, so it’s hard to forecast how the Indians will do next year, but finding a lefty middle reliever would help a lot, too.

  4. Ben said

    Terry Pluto has been a big Garko fan and I tend to side with him. Garko has always hit in the minors, always. From the looks of it last season, he seems to hit up here as well.

    I remember reading that his locker is next to Hafner and Pronk shares his hitting tips quite liberally with Garko. This is a good thing.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind Garko having to beat someone out for the job this spring training, but I also don’t think that the Tribe needs to go hard after the top 1st base prospects (like they would.. ha)

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