Tag:Clint Barmes
Posted on: August 5, 2011 3:01 pm
 

Carlos Lee and the Astros' kiddie corps

Carlos Lee

By
C. Trent Rosecrans 

Your stat of the day: Carlos Lee has more career plate appearances than the rest of the Astros' position players combined.

The Houston Chronicle's Steve Campbell figured that stat out for his feature on Carlos Lee. Lee has 7,967 career plate appearances -- four more than the rest of Astros' position players combined.

Only three Astros, shortstop Clint Barmes (2,826), outfielder Jason Michael (2,588) and catcher Humberto Quintero (1,033) have more than 1,000 career plate appearances. Last season Hunter Pence led the team with 658 plate appearances in 156 games, so to put it in perspective, besides Lee, only two current Astros have more than two full seasons worth of big league plate appearances.

How about this? Lee is mired in an 0-for-23 funk -- tonight he'll have three teammates in uniform who don't have 23 career at-bats. In fact, the trio -- outfielder J.D. Martinez, third baseman Jimmy Paredes and outfielder J.B. Shuck have a combined 27 at-bats in the big leagues (and nine hits).

Lee's probably not going anywhere anytime soon, though. He's signed through next season -- and his $18.5 million salary is actually more than twice the rest of the team's position players combined salary.

"I’m more of a teacher, a mentor,” Lee told Campbell. “Pretty much whatever I can do to help, I’m open for it. I try to keep it loose, make ‘em understand to go out and have fun and play hard. Regardless of the situation, it’s still my job to go out there and do the best I can, compete as hard as I can."

(H/T to Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk

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Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:36 am
 

Friday night trade rumor roundup

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Now that Hunter Pence is off the table, it seems Heath Bell is the latest big name certain to move. But that doesn't mean he's the only one. There are plenty more rumors out there.

One of the most interesting is the Cardinals having interest in Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports

This comes after the Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss tweeted shortstop had become the team's "priority" at the non-waiver trade deadline. 

Furcal, 33, is struggling this season, hitting .195/.267/.241 coming into Friday's game but could still help the Cardinals -- which tells you all you need to know about the team's struggles at the position.

• A new hot rumor is that the Tigers are making a push for Ubaldo Jimenez and have offered top prospect Jacob Turner, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal. Turner, the team's 2009 first-round pick, is 3-5 with a 3.48 ERA at Double-A Erie this season. He has 90 strikeouts and 32 walks in 113 2/3 innings. The Tigers would prefer not to deal anyone from their big-league roster.

The Tigers are also dangling lefty Andy Oliver in return for a pitcher that can help them now, such as Jimenez, Hiroki Kuroda or even the Nationals' Jason Marquis, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweets. Oliver was rated as the team's No. 3 overall prospect by Baseball America heading into the season. He's 6-7 with a 4.64 ERA at Triple-A Toledo with 102 strikeouts and 52 walks in 106 2/3 innings. He was the team's second-round pick in 2009. He made five starts for Detroit last season and two this season. Overall he's 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in the big leagues with 23 strikeouts and 21 walks in 31 2/3 innings.

• The Astros dealt Pence on Friday, but MLB.com's Brian McTaggart tweets the Astros have told inquiring teams that shortstop Clint Barmes is unavailable.

• The Pirates are still looking for an outfield bat, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com tweets, and that bat may be the Twins' Jason Kubel, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch writes.

• Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the odds of his team making a deal are "50/50."

Towers also said there are six or seven prospects he doesn't want to deal.

• Brewers general manager Bob Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is still looking at deals, but wasn't hopeful of completing another. On Thursday the Brewers acquired Felipe Lopez from the Rays and brought him from Triple-A Durham where he was playing for Tampa Bay before bringing him to Milwaukee to replace the injured Rickie Weeks.

Melvin said the team would love to find another infielder, but isn't seeing many on the market. The Brewers have rumored to have talked to the Dodgers about both Jamey Carroll and Furcal.

However, the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez tweets the Dodgers' conversations about Carroll "have died."

• Orioles reliever Koji Uehara is a hot name, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweets. He says Uehara will go somewhere. He'll make any bullpen better. However, Rosenthal tweets that it's only a 50-50 chance the Orioles move Uehara. He is 13 appearances shy of a $4 million vesting option for 2012. The Baltimore Sun links Uehara with the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Phillies and Tigers and notes all five of those teams have had scouts around the Orioles in recent series.

• The Rangers are certainly interested in bullpen help, but San Diego may not be their only trading parter. Brady Tinker of Fox Sports Southwest, tweets Andrew Bailey of the Athletics is the "most likely top bullpen addition" by Texas.

• The Braves may be reluctant to make much of a deal at the deadline so they don't repeat the Mark Teixeira mistake when the team sent, among others, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus to Texas, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The Braves are refusing to give up any of their top four pitching prospects -- Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Randall Delgado or Mike Minor. They could look at dealing from that grow in the offseason when the team could be searching to fill more holes. Atlanta has placed center fielders Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer on the disabled list in the last two days with Jose Constanza starting on Friday, making his big-league debut. Yahoo!'s Passan tweets the team is targeting center fielders. Rosenthal writes Atlanta is looking not only at center fielders such as B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn, but also corner outfielders such as Ryan Ludwick, Carlos Quentin and Josh Willingham.

• The Marlins appear to be holding pat at the deadline, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports. That means they'll keep closer Leo Nunez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 4:49 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:23 pm
 

5 under-the-radar trade targets to watch

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Sure, Carlos Beltran has been traded and there are still waves about Ubaldo Jimenez and other big names, but often it's the role players that are important in a pennant race. Here's guys that won't exactly stop the press, but could make a new team very happy they made a deal:

Josh Willingham1. Josh Willingham, Athletics: While not quite as sexy an acquisition as Carlos Beltran, Hunter Pence, B.J. Upton or even Ryan Ludwick, Willingham is certainly in demand.

Willingham is currently hitting .240/.327/.428 -- turning in his lowest OPS since becoming a regular big-leaguer. Playing in pitcher-friendly Oakland certainly doesn't help, but he does have 13 home runs in 324 plate appearances and a career .363 on-base percentage. Willingham has 116 career homers and could supply some pop to a team that needs a right-handed bat, and there are plenty of those. Both the Braves and Red Sox are in need of a right-handed bat in the outfield.

Willingham is a free agent after the season and currently projects as a Type A free agent, so it's possible the A's keep him if nobody meets their asking price.

Jamey Carroll2. Jamey Carroll, Dodgers: Carroll was a guy that was getting interest from Milwaukee before Rickie Weeks suffered a severely sprained ankle on Wednesday, and now he makes even more sense.

Not a bopper by any stretch of the imagination (he has just 12 career homers in 3,273 career plate appearances -- that's one homer every 272.75 plate appearances, and none since 2009), but he's a solid, steady bat hitting .291/.362/.356, a line that's pretty consistent with his .277/.356/.349 career slash line.

The 37-year-old can play around the infield and would step in at second for the Brewers -- and even be part of a mini-youth movement in Milwaukee where he'd take over the spot of 40-year-old Craig Counsell

The Indians are also interested in Carroll, who played in Cleveland in 2008 and 2009. There he would be used to back up rookies Jason Kipnis at second and Lonnie Chisenall at third base.

Coco Crisp3. Coco Crisp, Athletics: Crisp isn't having his best season, but the veteran center fielder could still help plenty of teams looking to shore up an outfield rotation or add a fourth outfielder.

Hitting .266/.317/.384 for Oakland this season, the 31-year-old has seen his stats drop from last season, and his .317 on-base percentage is his lowest since 2006. He does have 27 stolen bases, just five from his career-best.

CBSSports.com colleague Scott Miller made an interesting observation about Crisp, saying he's similar to Dave Roberts in 2004. Red Sox fans don't have to be reminded about Roberts' impact on Boston's title chase. 

The Indians and Reds have shown interest in Crisp, who could also help out the Pirates.

Koji Uehara4. Koji Uehara, Orioles: He's not exactly a household name, but the 36-year-old Japanese right-hander has been one of the game’s best relievers the last couple of years. 

Uehara has a 1.80 ERA this season in 45 innings, striking out 59 and walking eight. His WHIP is down to 0.689, but he has given up six homer so far this season, but that's about the only chink in his armor. In his career he's struck out 6.48 hitters for every walk.

Last season he closed some for the Orioles and converted 13 of 15 chances, so he could even fill that role if needed.

The Rangers, Pirates, Tigers and Twins have shown interest in him. He would upgrade any bullpen he joins.

Clint Barmes5. Clint Barmes, Astros: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. And in the NL Central, Clint Barmes is a legitimate shortstop.

The Astros traded for the player better known as the guy before Troy Tulowitzki in Colorado or the guy who fell down the stairs carrying deer meat, but he's had a decent season in Houston. He's hitting .254/.320/.402 with seven homers for the Astros. Better yet, he's a good defensive shortstop -- and Ozzie Smith compared to the likes of Yuniesky Betancourt, Edgar Renteria and Ryan Theriot.

CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler wrote the Brewers are interested in Barmes. The Brewers added Felipe Lopez on Thursday, but Lopez is not a legitimate shortstop (of course, neither is Betancourt) and will report to Triple-A.

Another team to watch may be the Diamondbacks, who lost Stephen Drew to a broken ankle. 

Barmes is a free agent after the season.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:27 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 12:07 pm
 

Tuesday's trade rumor roundup

By Matt Snyder

Another day, another seemingly infinite set of rumors and reports. Let's try to tie them all together into one shiny post for you, the Eye on Baseball readers. We've got your back like that.

- On the Ubaldo Jimenez front, we started the day with Troy Renck of the Denver Post saying "chances remain slim" that the Rockies part with Jimenez. Later, however, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Rockies want to trade Jimenez, and were speaking with the Yankees, Red Sox, Reds and Blue Jays. Wait, what? Yes, the Blue Jays. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com backed up the report, as did CBSSports.com's own Danny Knobler -- who says the Yankees have the best shot at Jimenez.

MLB Trade Deadline
- CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports the Angels are looking for a bat, preferably at third base. They covet Michael Cuddyer and Aramis Ramirez, though neither seems available at this time for different reasons -- the Twins want to hold onto Cuddyer and Ramirez won't waive his no-trade clause.

- ESPN's Jim Bowden -- a former general manager himself -- reported that he spoke with Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and there are still no plans for the Cards to trade Colby Rasmus. Of course, Mozeliak stands nothing to gain by openly saying he's looking to offload the talented youngster, so that report isn't overly significant. Sherman notes the Cardinals are "asking for a ton" in return for Rasmus. Knobler reports the Giants and Nationals are interested in Rasmus.

- Both Knobler and SI.com's Jon Heyman pointed out the scouting section will be full Friday for Erik Bedard's first start after coming off the disabled list. The Mariners would surely move the left-hander if they can get a suitable offer. Of course, Sean McAdam of CSN adds that the Mariners are seeking "a ton" back for Bedard, which seems wholly unreasonable given his health history. Heyman named the Tigers and Red Sox as potential suitors.

- Renck reiterates what he's been reporting for weeks, which is that the Red Sox are watching Rockies' outfielder Ryan Spilborghs with a keen eye.

- As the Hunter Pence rumors continue to dry up, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Phillies are still aggressive in his pursuit, but that's about it. We still feel like Pence isn't going anywhere. This next entry is intriguing, however ...

- Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Phillies are scouting White Sox right fielder Carlos Quentin, just in case he becomes available.

- Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports the Braves are looking to bolster their bullpen with either Jon Rauch or Jason Frasor of the Blue Jays.

- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Reds are not shopping their catching tandem, so any thoughts of Ramon Hernandez giving the Giants' offense a shot in the arm can be forgotten.

- There were various B.J. Upton rumors, so here's a quick summary. Things got kickstarted when Fox Sports reported that there were at least five teams in the mix for Upton, naming the Indians, Giants, Braves and Pirates. The Brewers, Rangers and Phillies are reportedly not part of the Upton sweepstakes. Stark has the Nationals as continuing to "hover" on Upton, so maybe that's the fifth team. Heyman has the Giants as having a strong interest, too. Upton will really become sought after once Beltran is traded and even moreso if it becomes clear Rasmus isn't going to be traded.

- Stark has heard the Twins won't become sellers unless they lose every game this week.

- Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports the Indians and Pirates are interested in Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta, though Renck earlier in the day said the Pirates have cooled on Iannetta -- and Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit is heading to Triple-A on his rehab assignment.

- Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News reports the Rangers are monitoring several relief pitchers and are still in on Carlos Beltran.

- Knobler is reporting the Brewers are interested in Jamey Carroll, Coco Crisp and Jerry Hairston, in addition to being fringe candidates for Beltran. The most likely match for the Brewers, however, is Clint Barmes of the Astros.

- Finally, we'll leave with the Beltran rumors. Heyman has the Giants as the front-runner, but puts it with a caveat ("for the moment").  He says the Braves are still heavily in the mix, though the Phillies are kind of bowing out. Sherman reports the Mets' asking price is coming down for Beltran. Stark gets specific, naming many of the top prospects the Mets have asked for in exchange for Beltran and been shot down -- such as Julio Teheran, Domonic Brown and Jarred Cosart.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 5:49 pm
 

On Deck: Can Clayton Richard halt the streak?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ethier's Kryptonite? -- We all know about Andre Ethier's 24-game hitting streak. Tonight could be the night it ends. Ethier is 1 for 13 in his career against Padres left-hander Clayton Richard with two strikeouts and no walks. Richard is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA and pitched into the eighth inning in his last start. Padres at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET

Welcome back -- Clint Barmes was supposed to be the Astros' long-term answer at shortstop. Instead, he suffered a broken hand in spring training and hadn't played this season. Tonight he makes his Astros debut, batting second and playing short. Barmes hit .400 (6 for 15) in four minor-league rehab games this week. Brewers at Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET

He lives -- The Yankees seemed to have struck gold in two reclamation projects -- two nights ago Bartolo Colon looked like he was poised for another Cy Young and tonight Freddy Garcia makes his third start of the season. In his first two, Garcia has allowed just four hits and no runs in 12 innings. He faces the hard-luck Ricky Romero, who struck out 10 Rays and allowed just five hits in his last outing and picked up a loss. He's received just four runs of support in his last four starts. Blue Jays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 10:01 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:12 pm
 

Pepper: Closer concerns in NL Central

Brandon Lyon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The National League Central appears to be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball, with up to four legit contenders for the crown, so every little difference is going to be magnified when it comes to the end of the season.

While we're a long way from magic numbers, but the division's closer could be cause for concern.

In the first weekend of games, NL Central closers blew four of eight save chances -- including the first three -- and had an ERA of 12.91. Only Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan (who is 2 for 2 on save opportunities) hasn't allowed an earned run among the division's six closers.

All six closers have had save opportunities, and half of them are save-less. Milwaukee's John Axford has allowed four earned runs and hasn't finished an inning in two appearances, allowing a walk-off three-run homer to Cincinnati's Ramon Hernandez on Thursday and allowing two hits on Sunday before being replaced.

St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin gave up a game-tying homer in an eventual opening-day loss to the Padres and Houston's Brandon Lyon allowed six hits and three runs, picking up the loss against the Phillies on Friday.

The Cubs' Carlos Marmol struck out the side on Saturday for his first save, but Sunday he walked one and allowed two hits to cough up a lead, sending the Cubs to a 5-4 loss to the Pirates (and setting up Hanrahan's second save).

And then there's Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero, who picked up a save, but didn't instill much confidence in anyone, allowing two hits and a run in Saturday's Reds victory against the Brewers.

It could be a wild ride this year in the NL Central this season, and that's just the ninth inning.

HOMETOWN BOY -- Padres manager Bud Black said part of his reason for setting his rotation as he did was to allow San Diego native Aaron Harang make the start for the Padres' home-opener at Petco Park on Tuesday.

Black said it also helped that Harang has a history of opening day starts. Harang started five consecutive opening days in Cincinnati. He is in his first season with the Padres. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

PRETTY MUCH -- Dustin Pedroia on the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox: "They kicked our ass, that's it." [Boston Herald]

RAY OF HOPE -- On opening day, the Rays announced a long-term deal with Wade Davis. The team's No. 1 starter, David Price, said he'd be interested in a long-term deal as well.

"Everybody here knows that I feel very comfortable here with the Rays," Price told MLB.com. "And I feel like I fit in very well with this organization and how they do stuff. If it's something we're able to get done, it's definitely something I'd like to do."

TURF CALF? -- Johnny Damon said Tropicana Field's artificial surface may have contributed to his right calf tightness that forced him to be scratched from Sunday's lineup. [St. Petersburg Times]

ANGEL TOURISTS -- Howie Kendrick and Torii Hunter talk about how special the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City is to them. [Orange County Register]

BASEBALL ART -- Aubrey Huff made a diving catch in Los Angeles on Saturday and before Sunday's game, Pat Burrell, Dan Runzler and Brandon Belt taped a body outline in the outfield where Huff made his catch. Here's a picture of their art.

HALLOWED GROUND -- Volunteers cleaned up at the old Tiger Stadium and finished off with a pickup game of baseball. The Navin Field Grounds Crew will be doing this every week during the summer in Detroit, hoping to allow everyone to use the field. [Detroit Free Press]

JAPANESE HERITAGE DAY -- The best highlight of Sunday's Japanese Heritage Day in Oakland was when Ichiro Suzuki caught Kurt Suzuki's fly in right and threw out Hideki Matsui at third base. The A's and their fans also raised more than $65,000 for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan. [San Francisco Chronicle]

HUMIDOR SECURITY -- MLB has tightened its security procedures concerning the humidor at Coors Field, an "authenticator" will keep an eye on all the baseballs from when they're taken out of the humidor to the umpire's room where they're rubbed down to the Rockies dugout, where they're kept. During the game, he'll watch the bag. [Denver Post]

CARDS OWNER CONFIDENT -- Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is happy with his team and confident, but added the team does have playroom flexibility of "several million dollars" if the team needs something later in the season. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

COPYING BAGWELL -- Astros shortstop Clint Barmes will wear a protective pad on his left batting glove when he returns to action. Barmes suffered a fractured bone in his hand late in spring training when he was hit by a pitch. Barmes said it's the exact same pad attached by velcro that former Astro Jeff Bagwell used to wear. Barmes said he wore a similar pad after breaking his hand in 2002, but will make it a permanent addition this time. [MLB.com]

VLAD THE ENIGMA -- Vladimir Guerrero has wowed us on the field for years, but not much is known about him off the field. But the Baltimore Sun's Kevin Van Valkenburg and Jeff Zrebiec have managed to write a really interesting feature on the new Oriole. For instance, before every home series, Guerrero writes down the name of all the Spanish-speaking players and coaches coming to town, and will then have his mom cook food for all the Latin players and bring it to the park. Guerrero's mom has lived with him since he was in Montreal. [Baltimore Sun]

REALLY? -- Wearing a guy's jersey to a game is one thing, but a whole uniform, catching gear and all? This Philadelphia fan was at Sunday's game wearing complete catcher's gear, a glove, mask and even taped wrists. I wonder if security allowed him through the gate with metal spikes? [Philadelphia Daily News]

OAKLAND'S 'DUMP' -- Apparently the field at the Oakland Coliseum smells like sewage. And that's not all that's wrong with the Coliseum. [San Francisco Chronicle]

GREINKE PROGRESSING -- The Brewers expect Zack Greinke to throw off the mound at some point during the team's week-long homestead starting today. Greinke still isn't expected to return this month, but throwing off the mound is the first step to determining when he can return. He played long toss and threw from 60 feet before Sunday's game in Cincinnati. [MLB.com]

BLAKE BETTER -- Casey Blake is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday and hopes to be ready when he is eligible. The Dodgers are in Denver on Wednesday. [Los Angeles Times]

REWARD OFFERED -- A $10,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the case of Dodger fans beating Giants fan Bryan Stow, 42, a Santa Cruz paramedic and father of two. Stow is currently in a medically induced coma. [Los Angeles Times]

SIGNS YOU'RE OLD -- When Jim Thome faced Blue Jays rookie Kyle Drabek on Saturday, the TV folks accidentally put up Thome's career numbers against Doug Drabek, Kyle's father. [UniWatch Blog]

IZZY SHELVED -- Jason Isringhausen, attempting a comeback with the Mets, left an extended spring training game on Saturday after feeling a "twinge" in his back. [New York Daily News]

DIFFERENT SWING -- John Smoltz talks about his attempt at a golf career. [Detroit Free Press]

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Posted on: March 26, 2011 11:01 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Barmes out 4-6 weeks with broken hand

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Clint BarmesAstros shortstop Clint Barmes will miss anywhere from four to six weeks with a  broken left hand, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Barmes was hit by a pitch from Yankees starter Ivan Nova on Friday and had X-rays that confirmed the non-displaced fracture in the fifth metacarpal bone in his left hand.

Barmes suffered a similar injury in 2002 at Double-A.

The Astros expected Barmes to start at shortstop after acquiring him in November for Felipe Paulino. The team's top backup, Jeff Keppinger, is currently sidelined following toe surgery. The Astros have their shortstop spot open, along with two backup infielder slots. The candidates are Angel Sanchez, Anderson Hernandez, Matt Downs and Oswaldo Navarro.

Barmes was hitting .196/.308/.286 this spring in 56 at-bats.

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Posted on: March 7, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 4:22 pm
 

New start for Astros' Barmes

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Clint BarmesIf Wally Pipp had lost his spot because he slipped carrying Bambi's mom, he'd be Clint Barmes.

Barmes looked like he'd be the 2005 Rookie of the Year when Todd Helton gave him a gift of deer meat. Carrying the meat up to his apartment, he slipped and broke his left collarbone. In 86 games before the meat incident, Barmes was hitting .318 and in the 579 since, he's hit .244. He lost his swing, struggled in 2006 and was replaced by Troy Tulowitzki in 2007.

"It's one of those things where everybody is like, 'What would have happened if I didn't get hurt?'" Barmes told Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle. "I've thought about that. I'm not going to lie."

Many have. Barmes has gone from an emerging star to expendable. The Rockies traded him to the Astros for pitcher Felipe Paulino last November. Barmes is now getting a chance to be the Astros' everyday shortstop.

"I feel like I'm kind of starting over again," Barmes said. "That makes it exciting. I've got expectations for myself. The club has expectations for me. The biggest thing is they're going to let me go out and play, do what I do. It's on me to go out and produce."

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