Tag Archives: Josh Barfield

Eric Sogard, Kouzmanoff Traded to Oakland

Here’s an interesting one. The Oakland A’s acquired Kevin Kousmanoff and former Fort Wayne Wizard Eric Sogard for former Padre Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham.

Sogard is seen as a Todd Walker type hitter that lacks range defensively but is gap-hitter with great contact rates.

Sogard, a former second round pick out of Arizona State, hit .253 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 22 games with the Wizards in 2007. He should fit in well with Oakland becuase he does not strike out a lot. In 2008, with Lake Elsinore, Sogard struck out just 62 times in 536 at-bats.  Last season, Sogard hit .293 with Double-A San Antonio and wiffed just 47 times in 457 at–bats.

Sogard, a second baseman, was idling on the Padres’ depth chart behind another former Wizard, Matt Antonelli, who held the position at Triple-A Portland. Somewhat ironically, Kevin Kousmanoff was originally acquired by San Diego in a 2006 trade for former Padres second baseman Josh Barfield.

The trade should also see former Wizard Chase Headley return to third base. As Friar Forecast points out:

With Chase Headley on the roster, the Padres had two third baseman, but were forcing one (Headley) to masquerade as a left-fielder.  Not surprisingly, Headley’s fielding was a major liability and zapped much of his value.  In the minors, Headley was considered an average fielding third baseman, and in the majors Headley has shown to be no worse than an average hitter.  In replacing Kouz with Headley at third, the Padres essentially break even.

Roster Battles: Barfield and Kottaras In, Pauley Out, Moeller Still Fighting

It’s getting that time of spring, position battles are being won and lost. Here’s a look at four former Fort Wayne Wizards:

Josh Barfield dedicated himself to regaining a big league roster spot this offseason and into spring. In doing so, he developed skills at new positions, which may have been the deciding factor in giving him a spot on the roster. Barfield will be used as a late-inning pinch-runner, and will start at second base, in the outfield and at third. Until this year, he was exclusively a second baseman.

“I like his versatility, speed and how good he is on the bases,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said of Barfield. “I trust him late in the ballgame to do those things . . . I still feel the bat’s coming. The work he’s done has yet to translate into the games, but I think it will.”

I guess his extra work this spring paid off. Congrats Josh. Hope it’s the first step toward great things!

George Kottaras appears to have also locked up a spot with Boston. His ability to catch Tim Wakefield impressed:

“He’s not been thrown into just a normal backup situation,” said the manager. “Again, nobody has made our team yet. But he’s catching Wake right now, so he’s got that added responsibility. He’s a good receiver. He’s been throwing real well. He’s had a good camp.”

He knows Kottaras possesses some power in his bat; in 395 at-bats with Pawtucket last season, Kottaras hit 22 home runs.

In Orioles camp, the out-of-options David Pauley cleared waivers and is being outrighted to AAA Norfolk. Pauley came to Baltimore from Boston in a trade a few months back. He was first expected to contend for place in the rotation, but that was ruled out last week.

Veteran and well-traveled Chad Moeller remains in Baltimore’s camp as he fights for a spot as backup catcher. Yet, even if he wins the gig, it’s liekly to be short-lived:

“I think it’s pretty clear,” said Trembley. “Hammock provides offense. Moeller provides experience calling the game and working with the staff. That’s a decision where we will decide on what’s more important.”

One complication for the Orioles is that their backup catcher is likely a temporary posting. Baltimore expects to promote top prospect Matt Wieters to the parent club at some point before the All-Star break, and once that happens, it will shift initial starter Gregg Zaun into a backup and mentor role.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Hundley, Headley, Kottaras, Koskie, Cruz, Barfield and Padnographs

Hundley is learning that soft hands are the best way for him to catch on (SignOnSanDiego):

When (Nick) Hundley graduated from the Triple-A Portland Beavers to the Padres last summer, his reputation was for quality tools rather than refinement. He hit 50 home runs in 316 minor-league games and showed a throwing arm that Padres manager Bud Black characterizes as “major league quality for sure, maybe a little bit above.”

After getting his feet wet in 2008, Headley is eager to improve in ’09 (SignOnSanDiego)

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson described (Chase) Headley as the “quintessential” prospect of the current administration, a poster boy for being “patiently aggressive” and improving himself through attention to detail and strength training. His average of one strikeout per 3.8 at-bats in Double-A was of some concern, but considered the price of doing good business, too, because Headley often worked deep into the pitch count. He also did so as a rookie, averaging 4.2 pitches per appearance.

Because Headley’s best position is third base, it’s less likely that he and third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff will remain teammates for many years ahead.

If Headley stays in left field, he ultimately might block Kellen Kulbacki, one of the Padres’ better prospects and ticketed for Double-A this season. Several scouts say left field also is the best position for Will Venable, an older Padres prospect who, for now, is targeted for center field in Triple-A and has a subpar throwing arm for right field.

(Massarotti) Will George Kottaras be with the Red Sox Come Opening Day? (Boston.com)

…the Red Sox appear most likely to open the season with Varitek and Josh Bard as the catching tandem, though one club official recently went out of his way to suggest that George Kottaras looked sharp in the early days of camp. Kottaras is out of options and could be a threat to beat out Bard, though the more likely scenario is that the Red Sox are trying to increase Kottaras’ trade value so that they do not simply lose him on waivers.

Koskie will play for Canada in WBC (TwinsNow)

According to a source close to the situation, (Corey) Koskie, who was not on Canada’s provisional World Baseball Classic roster, will play for Team Canada in the 2009 WBC.

Playing for Canada in the WBC has been Koskie’s primary goal in trying to return to baseball. The former Twins third baseman hasn’t played since he suffered a concussion and whiplash while playing for the Brewers on July 5, 2006.

Cruz not in Classic for Mexico (MLB.com)

Despite being one of 45 players listed on Mexico’s provisional World Baseball Classic roster, Luis Cruz has declined an invitation to play with the team in next month’s tournament.

Cruz, who played with Mexico in the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic, is fighting for one of the Pirates’ final two bench spots this spring. For Cruz, that was reason enough to pass on the opportunity to once again represent his home country.

“I think I have a chance to get a spot here,” said Cruz, who made his Major League debut as a September callup with the Pirates last season. “I’m fighting for a spot here. I want to practice and get ready for the season and try to make the team.”

Barfield Adjusting to Utility Role (MLB.com)

A  second baseman by trade, (Josh) Barfield has been asked to add third base and all three outfield spots to his repertoire. The carrot dangled in front of him is a utility job with the big league club.

“I’ve got to be efficient,” Barfield said. “I can’t neglect one position or the other.”

The Indians, and manager Eric Wedge in particular, have been happy with what they’ve seen from Barfield during the team’s early workouts. Wedge said Barfield moved around well at third base and handled the outfield well.

And finally, Padnographs is featuring some former Wizards: Sean Burroughs, Dirk Hayhurst, Kyler Burke, Brian Burgamy

Jeremy Barfield to Follow Brother’s Footsteps into Midwest League

Josh Barfield’s younger brother, Jeremy, was a eighth round selection of the Oakland’s A’s last season. In all likelihood, he’ll end up playing 2009 in the Midwest League with the Kane County Cougars. OaklandClubhouse.com recently caught up with the younger Barfield and asked him about his thoughts on the League, which is generally not known as a hitter friendly league.

Yeah. My brother [Josh Barfield] actually played for Fort Wayne when he was in the Padres organization. I’ve heard that it is a tough place to hit during the first few months of the season, but anything is better hitting-wise than Vancouver, honestly. It’s just that tough to hit there. But you just have to get used to hitting in cold weather and playing in cold weather in general for the first month or two of the season, which really isn’t all too bad because there is nothing you can do about it. Why fight it? Once again, it will be a lot different experiencing it for myself, but since my brother played a whole season in that league, it helps.

Read the full interview here (subscription required)

Cubs Sign Miles, Trade Derosa. Former Wizards Implications?

Today, the Chicago Cubs signed free agent infielder Aaron Miles. They then promptly traded Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for three young pitchers.

These transactions have potential implications for two former Wizards. The first and most obvious is the fact that Josh Barfield’s chances of a return to the parent club just got a lot tougher than what I discussed a few days ago.

The second involves Jake Peavy. As you might recall, the Cubs were hot after Jake Peavy not too long ago, but didn’t hav ehte young pitching that San Diego was said to have coveted. After many rumors and much speculation, there was actualy a formal announcement from the Cubs stating the talks were dead. San Diego looked posied to enter the season with Peavy – who could be dealt at a later time during the season.

However, anyone paying attention has to wonder if this trade might spark renewed talks for Peavy – especially if the rumored Marquis to Colorado trade happens. Should be an interesting couples months before Spring Training starts. Hoepfully the Cubs’ ownership situation gets sorted out soon so big things can happen.

Will 2009 Bring Barfield Resurgence?

After my recent post on George Kottaras and the potential for him breaking camp with the Red Sox in 2009, I got to thinking about Josh Barfield.

His rise and fall is well documented. With the Padres in 2006, he was a legitimate candidate for NL Rookie of the Year. His numbers were pretty solid. Over 150 games, Barfield hit .280 with 151 hits, 13 home runs and 58 runs batted in. He also swiped 21 bases.

The offseason saw the Padres trade Barfield to the Indians for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andrew Brown (who is now with Oakland) to fill a void at third base when the Sean Burroughs experience didn’t pan out the way they had planned. That’s when things went south for Barfield.

His 2007 production was lackluster at best. Over 130 games, Barfield hit.243 with three home runs and 50 RBIs. Rookie, Asdrubal Cabrera came out of nowhere to take advantage of the situation and wrestle away the starting gig at second base. His performance is one that often receives credit as a big reason the Tribe was able to launch into the playoffs and narrowly miss going to the World Series.

As one might expect, Cabrera entered Spring Training as the incumbent second baseman and began the 2008 season in that role. Barfield began the 2008 season at Triple-A Buffalo. His numbers were nothing to write home about, hitting .253 with 75 hits and 23 runs batted in over 299 at-bats. He struck out 58 teams.

But fortunately for Barfield, Cabrera offered a dismal performance that was reminiscent of Barfield’s 2007. It gave Barfield another shot. Though he went 0-6 during that stint, he might have had a good shot had he not gotten injured. He underwent surgery to repair an injured ligament on the left middle finger and missed several weeks.

By the time Barfield had recovered, Eric Wedge and the Indians had moved on and the season was more or less lost. Jamey Carroll held down most of the second base duties during that time, but didn’t really show any indication that he had locked up the role. That may have provided Barfield with yet another opportunity to regain his promise.

On the season, Barfield had little opportunity to impress at the MLB level and continues to show a high strikeout propensity (10 in 33 at bats). He hit just .182 during the combined stints. But reportedly, Barfield did make an impression and should get a legitimate shot at reclaiming his position unless there happens to be an acquisition of an established veteran. In all likelihood, the battle will come down to Barfield, Cabrera, Carroll and rookie Luis Valbuena, who hit .245 in 18 games last season.

Methinks there’s an very outside shot that Barfield could regain the role he lost nearly two years ago. Though, I might be a bit more on the hopeful side than most. As I often do with former Wizards players, as I researched this post, I did an environmental scan of news stories and blog posts. Many have already written Barfield out of the future plans not only for the Indians, but every team in Major League Baseball.

The DiaTribe suggests:

As 2009 looms, the decline of Barfield from being an up-and-coming steady MLB contributor at the age of 23 to a player that isn’t likely to factor into the Indians’ 2009 plans as a 26-year-old is nearly complete.

Sheldon Ocker of Ohio.com predicts that…

Jhonny Peralta probably will move from short to third – a move I don’t like – Asdrubal Cabrera will be shifted from second to short, and manager Eric Wedge will re-introduce himself to Josh Barfield, the forgotten man. It’s also not out of the question that Shapiro will find a free-agent second baseman.

And finally, Michael Taylor provides a thorough (yet bleak) analysis for MVN:

While Kouzmanoff has lived up to his end of the trade, the son of a former home run champion has arguably become the worst position player in the American League when he has been in the lineup. Barfield’s OPS, which is on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, is under .600! That’s right, under .600!

In that segment, Taylor reviews Barfield in comparison to baseball-reference.com’s similar batters through age 25.  Those batters are Russ Adams, Carlos Febles, Carlos Guillen, Pat Kelly and Michael Young. It’s an interesting mix, but I don’t recall any of those players ever emerging as the type of player who was irreplaceable for a team.

So, while the outlook is dim, it does appear that Barfield still has an opportunity to restore an unfulfilled promise. He’s still relatively young, nobody has a lock on his position at the MLB level, and he’s playing for a club that saw Cliff Lee make one of the most phenomenal “out-of-nowhere” resurgences in Major League Baseball History. So I guess anything’s possible!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also be interested in:

Photograph courtesy of the Fort Wayne Wizards/TinCaps

September Callups Feature Former Wizards

As evidenced by the recent call-ups of Antonelli and LaBlanc and some other recent player additions, the September callup period is in full swing. Thought I would take a moment to look into those with Fort Wayne Wizards ties:

  • P Dirk Hayhurst (SD) – Has made two starts since being called up. Is 0-1.
  • P Josh Geer (SD) – Made his debut on 8/31/08 – Got the win.
  • 3B Matt Antonelli (SD) – Made his debut on 9/1/08
  • P Wade LeBlanc (SD) – Set to start (MLB Debut) on Wednesday 9/3/08
  • SS Luis Cruz (PIT) – Made his Debut on 9/2/08 (4-1)
  • P Jack Cassel (HOU) -Returns for another round with the big club
  • 2B Josh Barfield (CLE) – Returns after a real up-and-down season. This might be a final shot.
  • P Jared Wells (SEA) – Called up yet again. Is there an All-Star roster they can cheat him out of this time?
  • P David Pauley (BOS) – Called up on 8/24. Had a chance to start, but they called up Michael Bowden instead and put Pauley int he pen. Finally pitched on 9/2. Pitched two innings. Gave up one run on two hits.
  • C Luke Carlin (SD) – Called up for his third stint with the Friars this season.
  • C Chad Moeller (NYY) -Adding depth to their catching corp.
  • Portland Manager Randy Ready – The rest of the team is there, and it’s starting to fill with former Wizards, so I guess you might as well call up the skipper who last got the Wizards into the playoffs.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Headley, Peavy, Barfield, Changeups and Kyle Blanks is Trade Bait?

  • Chase Headley: He’s back. And thanks to a Kevin Kouzmanoff injury, Chase Headley (who recently converted from third base to outfield) is going to get some starts at third. Oh the irony.
  • Jake Peavy: He’s back too. “Peavy (5-3) combined with three relievers on a five-hitter in his first start in nearly a month since being sidelined by a strained right elbow. The reigning Cy Young winner looked as if he hadn’t missed a turn.” Even more important, his elbow was fine after the outing.
  • Josh Barfield: He was back. Now he’s on the DL and likely out for 6-8 weeks. If Jamey Carroll keeps playing well, me may not return to the Majors this season (IMHO).
  • Oliver Perez: He may have had a good start to getting back on the right track. Sseven innings, with Josh Hamilton home run being the only flaw. “So Perez, in spite of that blast, gave the Mets seven innings and 116 pitches’ worth of breezy baseball.” It still wasn’t enough to save his manager.
  • Michael Cuddyer: Friday the 13th got the best of him and he left the game in the second inning after being hit in the right hand by a pitch. Doesn’t appear serious.
  • Grady Fuson: He oversees the Friar’s farm system and he’s serious about changeups. Former Wizard, Michael Ekstrom lost his starting gig and current Wizard, Jeremy McBryde might be in line for the same fate unless he changes his way (hat tip to Friar Forum).
  • Kyle Blanks: Apparently he’s trade bait due to a stockpile of first basemen (including the coming of age by current Wizard, Felix Carrasco) in the Padres’ organization. “Blanks is having a solid season; the 21-year-old is batting .306 with a .402 on-base percentage and five home runs.” Big mistake to let go of el Gigantor.
  • Matt Bush: On draft day, Kevin Czerwinski used the Matt Bush saga to remind us that being the top overall pick doesn’t mean a sure thing.

Future Wizards and Family Ties

It’s been about a week since the draft took place and of course, there is some follow-up to be done. As I mentioned previously, I don’t get into breaking down any one team’s draft or even spending too much time analyzing the draft in general. I prefer to look more to the storylines.

If you want a good breakdown, check out Geoff’s review at Ducksnorts or PadMan’s Recap at Friar Forcast. They have some good analysis. Also, if you haven’t heard, the Padres’ top pick Allen Dykstra has signed so we might get to see him at the Castle later in the season.

But one of the most intriguing picks and storylines for Wizards fans could be one that was made in the 41st round. With that pick, the Padres selected Zachary Dascenzo, the son of current Wizards skipper, Doug Dascenzo (hat tip to Brian Joseph at Seamheads). The younger Dascenzo is a Laurel Highlands High School senior in Uniontown, PA . .. so he may choose college over going pro. Bu there is a possibility that he may end up as a catcher under the guidance of his father in Fort Wayne before the summer is out.

Zachary would join the growing list of second generation players to come through Fort Wayne. The names Josh Barfield and Fernando Valenzuela Jr. immediately come to mind. Yet, while the Padres’ top pick in Allen Dykstra has a familiar ring to it, he is not the son of former MLB player Lenny Dykstra. His son Cutter Dykstra was selected by the Brewers in the second round.

If a Dascenzo reunion in Fort Wayne does take place, it would not be the first time a father and son combination teamed up as Wizards coach and Wizards player. As recently as 2006, former MLB player, Max Venable was the hitting coach for the Wizards as his son, Will Venable put together a great season in Fort Wayne. They currently have their tandem act on display in Triple-A Portland where Max is the Beavers’ hitting coach and Will does his thing on the field.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): June 11, 2008

  • Jaun Rincon on His Way Out? – Kelsie Smith (St. Paul Pioneer Press) reports that former Wizards pitcher, Juan Rincon has a feeling he may soon be traded or released. Ricon tested positive for an illegal substance in 2005 and was suspended for 10 games. He pitched well the remainder of the season, but things have gone downhill since 2006. (Hat tip to MLBTradeRumors). According to MLB.com, a roster move in Minnesota will come soon and Rincon looks to be the likely odd man out.
  • Josh Barfield Gets Called Up, Gets Hurt – Former Wizards infielder Josh Barfield left Tuesday’s game after the fourth inning with a left middle finger sprain. He is listed as day-to-day. He was 0-for-2 in the game and is hitless on the season after going 0-for-4 in his season debut on Monday’s.
  • Torii Hunter Hits Number 200 – I guess if Griffey Junior’s 600th was under the radar and with little fanfare, we shouldn’t expect too much out of Hunter’s 200th. But regardless, he hit it on Monday during the Angels’ series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Jake Peavy Returns Tomorrow – The Padres’ ace will come off the disabled list and face the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. Peavy’s last start was on May 14 against the Cubs. But he was shut down when a lingering pain in his elbow persisted afterwards and hasn’t pitched in a live MLB game since.
  • Justin Baum Finds His Power Stroke – The 22-year-old third baseman went 4-for-5 with two homers, a career-high seven RBIs and three runs scored Friday (June 6th) as the Wizards rallied past the Lansing Lugnuts, 11-5, at Oldsmobile Park.  Luis Durango was the only other Fort Wayne player with more than one hit.
  • Chad Huffman is Padres Player of the Month – The 23-year-old former Wizard was recently selected as a starter for the 2008 Texas League All-Star Game. He hit .357 (35-for-98) with seven doubles, four home runs, 19 RBI, 21 walks and 18 runs scored over 28 games for Double-A San Antonio during May. He put together 10 multi-hit games, including three three-hit games and one four-hit effort. In addition, he tallied a 13-game hit streak from May 4-15, batting .396 (19-for-48) over that span.
  • Time to WorryAbout Antonelli – Tom Krasovic (SingonSanDiego) questions whether it’s time to worry about Antonelli who is producing an average below .200 and an equally tragic slugging percentage during his first season at Triple-A Portland; who was the Padres’ first round pick in 2006.