Padres trade Burke, Bowen for Barrett

Kyler Burke

Without straying far in the alphabet, the San Diego Padres have swapped catchers with the Chicago Cubs, trading Rob Bowen and adding in minor league prospect Kyler Burke to sweeten the pot for Michael Barrett.

Michael Barrett, a 10-year veteran who is due to hit free agency at the end of the year, is hitting .258 with nine homers and 29 RBIs over 57 games.

He fell out of favor with Chicago after getting into a fight with star pitcher Carlos Zambrano, and his average and .307 on base percentage are his lowest totals since 2003 when he was with the Montreal Expos. He is expected to be in San Diego tonight when the Padres play the Orioles.

Originally selected by Montreal in the first round (28th overall) of the 1995 Draft, Barrett has played in parts of 10 Major League seasons with Montreal (1998-2003) and Chicago (2004-07), batting .267 (873-for-3267) with 209 doubles, 21 triples, 95 home runs, 401 RBI and 380 runs scored in 973 games. In 808 career games at catcher, pitchers have posted a 4.29 ERA while throwing to him. Additionally, Barrett is one of five Major League catchers to hit at least 10 home runs during each of the 2002-06 seasons.

Rob Bowen, meanwhile, has a .268 average with a .371 on base percentage over 30 games and 82 at bats before the trade, collecting eight doubles and 11 RBIs.

Claimed off waivers by the Padres on April 3, 2006 from the Detroit Tigers, Bowen was originally a second-round selection of the Minnesota Twins in 1999. In 148 career Major League games with the Twins (2003-04) and Padres (2006-07), he has a career average of .230 (49-for-213) with 13 doubles, six homers, 27 RBI and 35 runs scored.

Kyler Burke represents the centerpiece of the deal from a Chicago standpoint. The outfielder, drafted in the supplemental first-round last season out of a Tennessee high school, has long-range qualities that make him attractive.

He was, understandably, surprised by the deal. A player cannot be traded until one year after he is drafted and Burke passed that mark on June 6.

"It never really crossed my mind that I would be getting traded this early," Burke admitted. "I was shocked to be honest with you. I didn't know who it was for at first. I really don't know how to feel."

Burke, 19, is batting .211 (45-for-213) with seven doubles, a triple, a home run, 21 RBI and 24 runs scored in 62 games for San Diego's Single-A Fort Wayne affiliate this season.

"It is crazy," Burke said of the trade. "I don't really know how to feel. I am a little disappointed because of all the guys I have made relationships with – the coaching staff, everybody. It happens for a reason and will work out the best for me."

Selected in the supplemental round (35th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Ooltewah (TN) High School, Burke has a .210 average (79-for-376) with 10 doubles, five triples, two homers, 36 RBI and 48 runs scored in 107 career minor league games in the Padres system.

"I was talking to Grady Fuson and he noted it is almost an honor to be traded for a high-caliber major league player. If you look at it that way it is not a bad thing.

"I am staying positive and will get a fresh start on things."

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