One month into the season, it looked like the Felipe Paulino-Clint Barmes trade would go down as a lose-lose deal. Paulino struggled through his first month with the Rockies and Barmes spent the first four weeks of the season on the disabled list while he recovered from a fractured left hand.
But Paulino has put together his best season yet and Barmes recovered from his hand injury on his way to a strong campaign in Houston. Win-win trade? Not quite. The Rockies gave up on Paulino after 14 2/3 ugly innings, so the Royals are the ones who benefitted from the 27-year-old’s turnaround.
Paulino, who struck out 11 without walking a batter in seven innings of work on Saturday, has a 4.10 ERA in 107 2/3 innings since the Royals acquired him in late May. His fastball clocks in over 95 mph, just as it has every season of his career, and his peripheral stats are strong: 8.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 45.1% ground ball rate, 3.81 xFIP.
Considering that Kansas City only gave up cash considerations, the Paulino move looks especially favorable for the Royals. They need the pitching and can pencil the Dominican right-hander into their rotation going forward. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes estimates a raise from $790K to $1.6MM in 2012, so Paulino will remain affordable next year.
The Astros could use the pitching, but Paulino had his chances in Houston and the Astros needed a shortstop. For $3.925MM, Barmes has hit .249/.323/.388 with ten home runs. FanGraphs’ UZR suggests the 32-year-old plays above-average defense and their version of wins above replacement has Barmes as the 11th most productive shortstop in baseball this season (3.1 WAR).
He’ll hit free agency after the season and doesn’t project as a ranked free agent, so this may be all Houston gets out of Barmes. Even if he departs for nothing this offseason, the Astros will have done significantly better than the Rockies in this trade. It’s not that Colorado was necessarily going to keep Barmes - he was a non-tender candidate in the offseason - but the Rockies are the only team that didn’t profit from last November’s trade. The Royals ended up with a cheap, productive arm, the Astros got an affordable everyday shortstop and all the Rockies got was 14 2/3 innings of 7.36 ERA ball.