Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Bay Rays Give Bartlett Away

Jason Bartlett isn't the best shortstop in the majors, but he's far from the worst either. You would figure that the Bay Rays would at least get something for him. But the two pitchers they acquired in the deal with San Diego, Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell, have shown little in their minor league career since getting drafted. Ramos had a brief cup of coffee with the Padres the last couple of years and was banged around in his short outings. Bartlett didn't have a good year in 2010, but he has some history of success and would seem to have brought more value to the Bay Rays than what they received.

By the looks of things, 2009 was an outlier for Bartlett. He had never shown that kind of power (14 homers) and his 133 OPS+ is the only year in his career where he finished over 100 in that category. But last year's woes (.254 final batting average) was a bit flukey too. His BABIP was dead on at .299, but if you break that down to hit trajectories, his BABIP on ground balls was like .199. Plus, he started slowly as this Fan does in the morning with sub-.200 months in May and June. But the rest of the year showed him hitting for the .280 average you expect from Bartlett for his career.

San Diego gets a major upgrade from last year and Bartlett should be a nice piece for them. He should hit in the .270 to .290 range with an OBP of around .360. He is an unspectacular, but effective shortstop with good range and good hands. He only made 11 errors last year. Bartlett will never hit for power, especially not in San Diego, but he will be a steady shortstop for that team and in this market for shortstops, that's a pretty good deal.

As for the Bay Rays, Brignac should play short and the Fan is all in favor of that. Brignac can become a really good player in the AL if given a chance to play 155 games. Even so, the Bay Rays should have gotten something better than the two pitchers they received for Bartlett. Perhaps they see more in those pitchers than these dry stats show, but the stats aren't pretty and the two seem destined to be minor league arms.

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