Clint Barmes Conference Call Notes

Clint Barmes and Neal Huntington spoke with the media earlier via conference call about the signing of Barmes to a two year deal, which was made official today.  Here are some notes from the call:

Clint Barmes

On Clint Hurdle:

“A chance to play under (Clint Hurdle) again, and knowing him and playing for him earlier in my career definitely played a part in all this.”

On playing shortstop:

“If I can choose, I’d definitely want to play short over second base.”

On defense and defensive metrics:

“I can’t say that I’ve paid a whole lot of attention to (defensive metrics), I really don’t understand how they figure all of that stuff in or how they add it all up.”

“I obviously wouldn’t be where I’m at without my glove and with what I’ve done defensively.”

How Many Other Concrete Offers:

“I can’t say very many.  My agent had talked to a few teams…a lot of those teams were looking at more of a one year deal, and a couple of them were at second base.  This deal that the Pirates were offering, the guarantee two years at shortstop, it was hard to pass up.  They were looking to find a shortstop as soon as possible, and so we kind of had to make a decision on it.”

On Hitting at PNC Park:

“It’s a pretty deep left field, and it’s not as good to right handers maybe as left handers with the right field fence.  I have had some success here, and I’ve always enjoyed playing here, and that definitely helps with the decision to sign here.”

Neal Huntington

On the Signing:

“It’s a thin shortstop market. There are a good number of clubs that are going to need shortstops.”

“Reyes and Rollins were one and two, and for us, Clint was number three on that list.”

“We looked at the attributes that Clint brings to the table.  It’s an above average defensive player.  It’s positive intangibles.  He sits in the middle of the pack in terms of offensive production for shortstops.  Combining positionally average offense with above to well above average defense, with a quality guy that’s excited to be a part of what we’re doing, to a position that’s defense first for us, we thought it was a great fit.”

Comparison to Cedeno:

“Historically, in terms of production, it’s about a 70 point difference in terms of OPS, this last year in particular.”

“Clint is a very steady, very reliable, solid plus defender.  One of the best in baseball over the last couple of years.”

On Being Aggressive:

“Much like the catching market, we felt like it was in our best interests to go get the guy we wanted and felt like we had a legitimate chance to get.”

“There’s a cost associated with (getting a deal done early).  You’ve got to be aggressive. In Clint’s case it was probably guaranteeing the second year at the dollars that we went to. In (Rod Barajas’) case it was giving him a raise over what he had gotten.”

“We could have been patient, and maybe there’s a better deal out there for us in December, or maybe there’s a better deal out there for us in January on either of these players, but at the same time we might have ended up with our sixth choice for catcher and our ninth choice for shortstop.”

On Chase d’Arnaud:

“We still think the world of Chase, we still think Chase is going to be a very good big league shortstop.  We just need to take a step forward as an organization, and we felt like having Clint Barmes at shortstop for us this year as we go forward was the best way to take the step forward.”

“Still like Chase d’Arnaud. Still think he’s got a ways to go before he’s ready to be that everyday big league shortstop, but he’s going to get everything we have to get that out of him because we still think it’s in there.”

  • I also agree that even though FO might be overspending, it’s what we’ve all wanted. All I’ve read is the FO is tight with money, trhey won’t pay, and while I agree that these first 2 signings are “average” talented players maybe just past their prime, at least they are trying to do something. Picking up 2 players off the waiver wire (1 now DFA) some complained, “dumpster diving again”, but again, at least they are trying to do something. We cannot sign Fielder, Pujols, Rollins, but we can pick up average players who play hard and can help the development of younger players until we can back-fill when guys like Sanchez, Chase, and Jody are ready. Would lover to see Kotchman sure up 1st base defensively, would be happy with Loney or Pena. SP needs to be addressed and as Tom Guido pointed out, Jackson/Capuano would be be an upgrade for us. Keep the heads up and lets keep upgrading (even if slightly) and moving forward.

  • I am shocked to see the comments of these “fans”. Damned if I do damned if I don’t.  People have complained yr over yr about the ownership not spending money.  News flash, we will not attract high price talent right now.  Simple won’t happen. 
    I am a big NH supporter (besides the JBay trade).  Hitting is down all over the league, if we can pick up two above average defensively sound up the middle players, that can hit .240-.250 with a combined 25+ HRS 90RBI’s great!  Takes the pressure away from Sanchez, Mercer, Chase which should help them develop properly.

    Next two moves hopefully are a combination of Edwin Jackon/Chris Capuano and Kotchman/Pena/Loney

  • let me say it again….thank you Neal…argueably the 3rd best SS on the market, NH went out agressive and got him.  I’ll miss Doumit, but Barajas if he can last all year, maybe an upgrade offensively and we know he is behind the plate.  My all time favorite players were Van Slyke and Jack Wilson because of the hustle.  Barmes is consistent and hustles, he a good ball player, im going to enjoy watching him this year. 

  • Playing ability obviously takes priority over personality in my book. Say what you want about the Manny Ramirez’s of the world, they hit HRs and help teams win, especially in a game like baseball, which is only a semi-team sport in which you take each at bat on your own. That’s why I’m excited about a defensive upgrade at both positions and an offensive upgrade at SS. Secondarily, however, personality should also be a deciding factor in the construction of a young team trying to establish itself like the Pirates. Given Doumit’s lackadaisical defense and Cedeno’s notorious lack of awareness/effort, I am thrilled to see the two of them depart, only to be replaced by similarly productive/priced professionals who take their jobs seriously. Maybe if Cedeno was putting up Tulowitzki numbers he could afford to bunt with the bases loaded, jog halfway to first on grounders, and double-clutch on throws that get there late, but in reality there’s nothing worse than a prima donna attitude coupled with mediocre results. Similarly, maybe if Doumit stayed healthy and put up his 2008 numbers on a yearly basis, we could overlook his phobia of getting his knees dirty, but that’s simply not the case. Glad to have these new guys on board. All indications point to them being upgrades in terms of both production and attitude.

  • In looking at Barmes offence at PNC,  it’s not bad at all

  • I love the “We don’t need any jackasses” comment by Hurdle, and having followed the Bucs since 1969, I surely know what he means. Having good people and good fits between personalities, and players who want to be in Pittsburgh and play hard makes a much bigger difference to a team’s winning abilities than a lot of fans seem to give credence to. Hurdle in my opinion is not a jackass, so I’m confident he’ll do a good job (and has done a good job) of weeding them out and keeping them away.

    You see it every year, especially since free agency began, teams loading up on superstars only to completely crash & burn during the season as all the oddball and nutcase personalities clash and fail to gel together as a team.

  • Setting aside all the histrionics, it sure seems clear that the Pirates are stressing defense this off-season.
    Barajas is a clear upgrade over Doumit and Barmes is a marginally upgrade over Cedeno.

    Side note — I think Chris Snyder’s back injury was a very understated issue in 2011.  With Snyder behind the plate, the staff was pitching well and efficient and he had their confidence.  When he went down, that caused the avalanche of catching issues (would things have been different if Jaramillo was healthy?) that resulted in McKenry coming here.

    Back to Barmes…
    I keep going back to Hurdle’s “we don’t want any jackasses” comment at the trade deadline.  They want good, solid team players.  Both Barajas and Barmes fit that bill.

    If the Pirates laid back and went shopping in January, as they have in many years past recently, there would have been outrage.  Now the Pirates are actually going out and getting players early and people complain.

    Are the dollar amounts great?  Probably not, probably off by a million in each contract.  But as NH said, they are paying for early deals.

    There was a class-A freakout on the board in early October with the declining of options.  Patience was stressed.  Now it is not even Thanksgiving and the Pirates have filled 2 holes and do not appear done.  All before the Winter Meeting in December, where a lot of deals happen.


  • So they didn’t want to get stuck with this years Lyle Overbay… hmmmmm… When do we expect that Lee signing then?

    • since Lee never wanted to come to Pitt in the first place, dont hold yer breath

      • Not so sure.

        I do get the fact he doesn’t want to play for Pit, but an overpay might change his mind… a 1yr. 12 mil season is awefully hard to turn down no matter the location.

        Trade for Bumgarner… I know you like this… and done.

  • I’ll be surprised if Barmes plays too full years in Pittsburgh. Most likely D’Arnaud or Mercer will supplant him before the second year or during his second year.

    Whether you agree with the signings of Barajas or Barmes, it is nice to see NH being aggressive and getting the players he wanted for those positions.

    Now he needs to find some offense.