Padres get catcher Michael Barrett and some cash; Cubs get catcher Rob Bowen and a low minor leaguer. At the very least, it’s an interesting trade.

Yes, Barrett comes with some baggage, but so what? Traded players often come with baggage, and Barrett’s baggage is win-related. He prefers it. He’s also in his walk year, so count on that much more incentive to perform. Not that he needs it. Barrett gets to catch the Padres staff now. That’s a vacation after four years with the Cubs.

San Diego gets a veteran, a solid bat, and experience. A starter for a backup. With his nine home runs to date, and the ballpark switch, Barrett might just hit 16 for the fourth straight year, which has got to be worth something.

Criticized for his defense at times, Barrett will be at least as good as Mike Piazza was last year. Not a problem for the Pads. Appeasing Josh Bard, who’ll lose some playing time, might be, but Bud Black can handle that situation, if it arises at all.

Most importantly, two catchers are better than one. Always. Teams like San Francisco, Los Angeles and both New York teams play the crap out of one catcher, and let the other guy sit around gathering dust. If the starter gets hurt, the backup is less prepared to step in than he might be otherwise. It’s a huge bonus for the Padres to have two thoroughly professional catchers in Bard and Barrett. Huge.

Chicago pretty much had to do something with Barrett. He’d fought openly with Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano, and wasn’t getting along all that well with Rich Hill either. Not that Zambrano, who’s also about to become a free agent, will give the Cubs a discount or anything, but he’ll probably appreciate the gesture. It couldn’t hurt, anyway. With a capable man in Bowen, Chicago really had nothing to lose by making the deal.

As for the minor leaguer the Padres give up, Kyler Burke, it’s anyone’s guess. I hate to use the expression, but what we have here really is the proverbial “good trade for both teams.”

Oh, one more point in San Diego’s favor. With the new acquisition, the Padres get another two-first-names player in the fold. Brian Giles, Marcus Giles, Kevin Cameron, Mike Cameron; and if you include the entire 40-man roster, Scott Cassidy. And now, Michael Barrett.

— HOWARD COLE

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