A Look Back: Michael Barrett

This season sucks. I wanted to bring up something (kind of) relevent from year’s past. Different people will have different opinions, but I never fully grasped the impact Michael Barrett had on the Cubs during his tenure. Why Barrett? 1) White Sox-Cubs is tonight, and punching A.J. Pierzynski is something I think we all wish we could do and 2) On this day in 2007 he was traded to the San Diego Padres for Rob Bowen and Kyler Burke.

Michael Barrett was signed in the 2003 offseason (ZOMG JIM HENDRY) on a 4 year deal. He started an average of 103.5 games from 2004-2007. During his 3 productive years (’04-’06) he had a .843 OPS producing 8.3 fWAR. His salary those 3 years was ~$9m. His surplus value was $19.4m.

2007 was a down year for him. With the Cubs, he was hovering a little above replacement level. He was traded on June 20, 2007 following 2 altercations with Z and Rich Hill. In return, they got Kyler Burke who was selected out of HS in the supplemental round of the 2006 draft. He was considered a very good OF prospect. Burke is still in the system. He converted to pitcher and is (or was) at EXST in AZ. The Cubs sent along money in the trade and saved $970K in the second half of 2007.

Barrett, while unappreciated by some, provided enormous value given his salary. When evaluating Jim Hendry, many point to his successful trade history and awful contracts he’s handed out. Somehow lost in all this was a free agent catcher Hendry signed that produced like a top hitting catcher but was paid like he was in arbitration.

If only Hendry could go back to finding hidden talent instead of splurging on his then-manager’s wants and wishes. We’d have more Michael Barretts and less Sorianos, Fukudomes, and Bradleys.

Oh ya, he punched A.J. Pierzynski in the face during the Crosstown Classic.


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