Buster Olney of ESPN
is reporting that the Cubs have traded catcher Michael Barrett to the Padres in exchange for catcher Rob Bowen
, a minor league pitcher and cash.
Steve Stone, appearing on the Mike North Show (WSCR Radio in Chicago), at 9:00 a.m. local time, confirmed that Barrett was being traded, saying he (Stone) had spoken to a friend who had gotten off the phone with Barrett just minutes before.
Stone also said that a source told him the Cubs had become "frustrated" with Barrett's inability to improve his defense over the past couple weeks, which led Stone to infer that the team was pursuing a deal. Stone pointed out that Jim Hendry avidly pursued Barrett during the catcher's years with the Expos and that Cubs player personnel exec Gary Hughes was also a huge Barrett supporter, having drafted him when Hughes was employed in Montreal.
Mike North further reported that according to rumors that WSCR was hearing, the Cubs would be receiving Bowen and set-up man Scott Linebrink
in return (different than what Olney's sources told him). Obviously, acquiring Linebrink in the swap would make the deal much more attractive from the Cubs' point of view.
UPDATE (Rob G.):
Olney got it right and the prospect is 19 yr old outfielder Kyler Burke, who you can read about over at "Road to Wrigley".
As for our new catcher, Rob Bowen, a few scouting reports, the first from Sportsnet
Assets: A switch-hitting catcher who excels from the left side, showing decent power. He's an above-average defensive catcher, able to block and throw very well.
Flaws: He's a weak hitter from the right side and generally lacks discipline at the plate.
Career potential: Good backup catcher who can be a No. 1 if needed.
And a 2004 scouting report from Baseball America I pulled off a message board:
He is solid defensively and is very agile behind the plate. He has a plus arm and has a quick release. He is also very adept at blocking balls in the dirt.
Offensively, he has natural loft in his swing, which should lead to power potential. He is a switch hitter, but scouts like him better from the left side.
Essentially the Cubs are taking another shot at a raw player on the right side of 30. His caught stealing rates are pretty bad over the last few years but those can depend a lot on your pitching staff. Offensively, at least he can take a walk. At worst, we've got a much better #2 catcher as Henry Blanco's career looks in jeopardy. At best, Bowen finds his groove and we've got a relatively cheap new #1 catcher for the next three years.