Various sources on Twitter indicate that the Pirates’ signing of shortstop Clint Barmes is now complete. The deal is for two years and $10.5 million, and catcher Brian Jeroloman – who the Pirates claimed from the Blue Jays just a couple days ago – has been dropped from the 40-man roster to make room.
Barmes replaces Ronny Cedeno as the Pirates’ starting shortstop. Barmes’ defense is good, and consistent, but his hitting leaves much to be desired, and he should struggle in PNC Park, which is hard on right-handed hitters. The Bucs’ decision to give him two years is a debatable one – at age 33 next season, Barmes could easily decline, giving the Pirates little value in 2013. We’ll have to see what role manager Clint Hurdle (who managed Barmes when the pair were both with the Rockies) played in the Bucs’ decision. Hurdle didn’t seem to be much of a fan of Cedeno’s frequent mental lapses. In truth, none of us were, but Cedeno’s solid defense and cheap one-year option might have made him a better choice, allowing the Pirates to spend freely to fix their obvious problems at first base and starting pitcher.
ESPN’s Keith Law has his take on the Pirates’ signing of shortstop Clint Barmes, and it’s a doozy.
The Pittsburgh Pirates giving two years and $10.5 million to Clint Barmes was the head-scratcher of the week, as Pirates fans must have felt like they were being haunted by the ghost of Pat Meares. Barmes can play an average shortstop, for now, but his at-bats are arguments for nihilism … I wouldn’t want to give him a spot on the 40-man roster, let alone guarantee him over $10 million for two seasons of outs. The Pirates declined a one-year, $3 million option on Ronny Cedeno; even if they think Barmes will be better in 2012 than Cedeno will (I disagree), they would have been better off with the shorter, less expensive commitment.
Saying that Barmes shouldn’t get a spot on the Pirates’ 40-man is way over the top, and according to most defensive metrics, the claim that Barmes is an “average” defensive shortstop is off, too. But the rest of Law’s take does make sense. Given Barmes’ age, there’s a strong chance he could decline on both sides of the ball, and his offense, which already isn’t particularly good, is likely to decline in PNC Park, where right-handed hitters go to die. Cedeno was just marking time at shortstop, but at least he was cheap.
The Pirates have agreed to terms with Clint Barmes to be their new shortstop, pending a physical, which will take place Monday in Pittsburgh. He will receive two years and $10.5 million.
The debate Pirates fans are having about whether signing Barmes for two years is better than one year of Ronny Cedeno at $2.8 million is one in which it would be easy to look silly, since the bust potential for both players is rather high, and there are good points to be made on both sides. I tend to fall into the Cedeno camp, though. Barmes is a better player than Cedeno, but he’s several years older, so there’s a good chance the second year of this deal will look awful. Also, the Pirates have more pressing needs at first base and in the rotation.