Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Despite being a huge fan of Michael Barrett and hope that the Cubs resign him before they let their best catcher go since the 1960's, his defense has been hurting the Cubs as of late and is effecting the team. Not only that, but his hot head has effected the team the past three years. In 2004 after a Aramis Ramirez homerun, Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt hit Barrett with the first pitch sending Barrett to the mound. The benches emptied and no punches were thrown, but the following week, Barrett instigated another benches clearing fight. Following the first ejection, Barrett agreed with the umpire on ejecting Kerry Wood, who hit Jeff Kent on a 1-2 pitch. The following day, his comment was posted on his locker. Following that series, the Astros roared back into the division race to take the wild card away from the Phillies and Mets, and shut down the Cubs the rest of the season. In 2006 during Interleague play, a base hit to left field brought A.J. Pierzynski to the plate. The ball was late but that didn't stop Pierzynski from bull dozing Barrett and then slamming on the plate. As Pierzynski walked back to the dugout, Barrett grabbed him and hit him in the mouth, instigating another benches clearing brawl resulting in several punches being thrown. Following that game, the Cubs only won three more games out of ten and put them 13.5 games out of first. This year, Barrett started off slow and is batting .249 with 9 HR and 28 RBI, and has had several defensive problems. Not only has he made five errors this year, which ties his error total last year in 102 games, but he has blown two games on his own, and caused a scuffle to ensue in the dugout between him and Carlos Zambrano after a five run third inning and an error to let runners advance. Now he is not catching Carlos Zambrano, and is on the wrong side of both Ryan Dempster and Will Ohman. And just a couple nights ago after a RBI single from Jarrod Washburn, Barrett and Rich Hill were seen having a animated argument forcing Larry Rothschild to step in. So what can the Cubs do? Personally, I think they should hold on to him. A rough start with fiery manager Lou Piniella can change and I think what he needs to do more than anything else is just relax and focus on baseball. The Cubs could trade him, but then they have Koyie Hill and Henry Blanco behind the plate, and their offensive numbers do not combine to equal Barrett's, and there is no one in the minors that could step up into a starting role anytime soon. The Mets are already known to be interested, and I'm sure many other teams would be interested, including the Yankees.