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Padres Trade Josh Barfield to Indians

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Let the offseason begin!

INDIANS GET: 2b Josh Barfield

PADRES GET: 3b/1b Kevin Kouzmanoff, P Andrew Brown

Wow, this is an interesting deal. The Padres probably gave up a little too much here, but I love how both teams have tried to solve their problems aggressively and creatively with this trade. The Padres had a hideous .659 OPS at third base this year (thanks, in large part, to Vinny Castilla's flop), and Kouzmanoff has just killed the ball everywhere he's gone. He's the kind of prospect who's a little hard to get a handle on - he's a little bit old (26 next year), has injury problems and isn't great on defense. At the same time, though, he's not your garden-variety walks-n-power minor league slugger - he has a career minor league batting average of .333. Statistically, he's a little like a better version of Matt Diaz. He's going to have to be better than Diaz to justify this trade, but he might well be - Diaz always struck me as the kind of guy who could surprise people by being extremely productive for a few years, and while that hasn't exactly happened with him, it might with Kouzmanoff. I wouldn't be shocked if Kouzmanoff reeled off a couple .875 OPS seasons, even in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park. In any case, Kouzmanoff won't have to be that good to dramatically improve on the Padres' horrible 2006 performance at third.

In Andrew Brown, the Padres get a reliever with electric stuff and control problems - he seems like the sort of guy who might flame out or might be tremendous for a few years after some smart coach has him make some adjustments. New Padres manager Bud Black, who presided over some great bullpens as the pitching coach of the Angels, might be that guy.

The Padres can also hope to fill their hole at second with one of a number of decent players who should be available reasonably cheaply on the free agent market, like Ray Durham, Mark Loretta or stretch-run Padre Todd Walker. They may also look to acquire Brian Giles' brother Marcus. It'll certainly be easier to fill a hole at second than to fill a gaping one at third.

The Indians get the better of this deal, though. Barfield had a very good year for the Padres as a 23-year-old rookie in 2006, and he figures to have a bunch more in the future. The Indians' best internal options at second prior to the trade were Hector Luna, a decent player who's probably more of a utility guy than a starter, and minor league journeyman Joe Inglett, so Barfield is a huge improvement. Kouzmanoff was expendable - Andy Marte's star has dimmed quite a bit this year, but he's still the long term answer at third base, and Ryan Garko, who should get some playing time at first this year, isn't all that different from Kouzmanoff - Garko had a much worse year than Kouzmanoff, but he's still a defensively challenged, older prospect who can hit.

UPDATE: The Pads also signed former Pirate pitching prospects Mike Johnston, Frank Brooks and Adrian Burnside to minor league deals. Padres GM Kevin Towers is really moving fast.