Bartlett Should Love NL West
The Tampa Bay Rays, needing to restock the bullpen, have [reportedly] sent shortstop Jason Bartlett to the San Diego Padres for relievers Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos. This is the perfect need-for-need trade that should help both teams immediately.
The Rays get to shed some payroll while addressing the bullpen, a need that has many holes with the free agent departures of Rafael Soriano, Joaquin Benoit, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler, Randy Choate, and Chad Qualls.
The Rays recieve Adam Russell, a 6’8″ right handed reliever that throws a mid-90s fastball and an average curveball but lacks command. In 54 big league innings he has 54 strikeouts, a 2.90 FIP, and has averaged 94.4 mph on his fastball, throwing it roughly 69% of the time. His ERA in those innings sits at 4.50, aided in part by a high BABIP of .363. He also keeps the ball on the ground with a career 1.27 GB/FB ratio, something that is a plus with the Rays’ plus defenders in the infield.
Cesar Ramos has been a left handed starter for most of his minor league career but profiles as a lefty specialist. He throws a low-90s fastball and a low 80s slider but struggles with his control and command. Like Russel, Ramos also keeps the ball on the ground.
Both players should be in the Rays pen in 2011.
The Padres, dealing from a surplus of relievers, get a starting shortstop for their team. Bartlett will probably never reach his Al-Star offensive season of 2009 again but I believe he is better than what he posted in 2010. Bartlett is a career .281/.345/.385 hitter that walks roughly 8% of the time and plays at least average defense at short.
The main plus on Bartlett, now that he is in the NL West, is that he loves to face left-handed pitching. For his career he has hit .318/.383/.444 in 851 plate appearances and moves to a division where there are 40% left handed starters. That’s right, 40%. Oh, and this is his walk year.
Bartlett also profiles as a Type-A free agent after 2011, which could net the Padres some draft picks if they decide to offer him arbitration and he signs elsewhere.
Not a bad trade for a couple of extra relievers the Padres had lying around and an extra shortstop the Rays had that got a little too expensive for them.