Pirates Agree to Terms With Clint Barmes

The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with shortstop Clint Barmes on a two year deal, according to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.  We heard previously that the Pirates were the leaders for Barmes, and were close to signing him.  The team hasn’t made an official announcement on the move, although the article mentions that Barmes was taking a physical today, which usually comes before the announcement.

In the article by McTaggart, Barmes is quoted as saying he signed with the Pirates because they offered him two years, and because it gave him the chance to reunite with Clint Hurdle.  He also added that the Pirates wanted to make a decision on their shortstop position, and had other guys lined up behind Barmes, with the former Astros and Rockies shortstop being the top choice.

Barmes has been one of the better defensive shortstops in the league the last few years, and his strong performance ranges almost every defensive metric.  His UZR/150 at shortstop in 2011 was a 10.8 in 1058.1 innings.  That ranked third in the majors among qualified shortstops, falling only behind J.J. Hardy and Alexei Ramirez.  Over the last three years, Barmes has the second best UZR/150 of all shortstops with at least 1500 innings.

Barmes also ranks high in Total Zone, ranking 7th among shortstops with 1500+ innings over the last three years.  Looking at the Fielding Bible stats, he ranks high in +/-, coming in 3rd among qualified shortstops in 2011, and 5th among shortstops with 1500+ innings over the last three years.

The Pirates saw good defense from Ronny Cedeno in 2011, although the defense from Barmes was better.  Barmes has also been more consistent than Cedeno throughout his career, which is a plus.  Shortstop is the hardest position to fill defensively, and it’s especially important for the Pirates, who have a rotation heavy with ground ball pitchers.

Offensively, Barmes is below average for shortstops, although it’s rare for a shortstop to have the defense that Barmes has, combined with strong offense for the position.  While Barmes’ offense is below average for the position, his offense is better than the majority of defensive shortstops.  In a perfect world, you could get someone who is strong across the board.  In reality a team like the Pirates are choosing from either a strong defensive shortstop with below average offense, or an above average offensive shortstop with poor defense.  Again, considering the makeup of the pitching staff, and considering how important the shortstop position is defensively, I’ll take the defensive shortstop over the offensive shortstop every day.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Todd Smith

I’d much rather have Barmes at 2 years and $10 million than a Jimmy Rollins for 5 years and $65 million – which is about what the Pirates would have to offer for him to consider it.  And what do you get?  Maybe an extra 20 points in OPS and a downgrade defensively from Barmes?  Rollins has averaged a .716 OPS over the past three seasons.  Barmes has averaged a .696 OPS over the past 3 seasons.  But Rollins is a bigger name and more expensive, so it would have meant the Pirates were REALLY trying to win?  Blah.

Going out and signing a “top” free agent name isn’t always a blueprint for success.  It’s just an easy way to placate the fans that don’t know any better.  Just look at the Nationals with Jayson Werth last year.  $18MM per year for 7 years, and he put up pretty much the same numbers at the plate as Lyle Overbay did last year.  Spending more doesn’t fix everything.


******No problem with what you said except please explain to me how Barmes is worth 2.25 million more than a Cedeno?  10 more homers?If Cedeno needed go, fine…but if the top attribute for our SS is defense with below average offense, I feel we could have found one for 2-3 million and used the extra money we used on Barmes to make a legit 3 year offer to a Cuddyer or a two year offer to a Capuano.Just my 2 cents
I absolutely would say 10 more homers is worth $2.25 million dollars, particularly when you factor in no dropoff in defense.   Please let me know what shortstop we would get for $2-3 million.   In todays baseball, that just doesn’t buy you much.   Lastly, what about the Barmes and/or Barajas deal precludes the Bucs from making offers to Cuddyer or Capuano?   It occurs to me that based upon where their payroll is currently and where they are projected to be, there is plenty of room if either of those players have interest in coming here.

Ron Leighton

The options that Doumit and Maholm had are interesting. Did NH ever think there was a good chance that the Bucs would pick up these options?  Did he think they were realistic numbers?

If Maholm’s option would have been for $7 million and Doumit’s for 6 million would they still be Bucs?

After all Barmes is going to be paid 5.5 million to play short and he doesn’t have much more service time than Doumit.  It seems to me that Doumit and Maholm were both financial decisions (NH thinks he can do better with money).  Now it is up to NH to improve the team.  There is a lot of flexibility with payroll for 2012. 

It may still happen, but I wish NH would have gotten the biggest long term upgrade possible – somebody who could be expected to be on team for 3 years with his first move rather than incremental changes that possibly could have been taken care of later.

Jimmy Coverdale

I think the only way that Barmes will be worth this contract is if he remains a 3 WAR player for the next two years – and I wouldn’t bet on that. He may not even be the best option at short in the system in 2013 – so he’d be earning $5.25m to sit on the bench.

He may have been one of the better options at short this winter, but given that he’s one of many shortstops that struggle defensively there really was no reason to rush in and overpay for Barmes. Is he at $5.25m better than someone like Alex Gonzalez, Nick Punto or Jerry Hairston Jr? I don’t think he will provide more value – and, like overpaying on Barajas, it also takes away funds to spend on a first baseman, starting pitcher and back up for Alvarez.

As there is a bigger gap in quality between the  top available first base and starting pitchers available that could join the Pirates compared to the secondary options, I think Huntington has misplaced his focus – and should have put a defensive shortstop lower down the list


Jimmy ~ I disagree with you about Barmes and Barajas being overpaid.  Cedeno and Doumit would be overpaid for 2012, under the terms we had with them.
Barmes is far from overpaid.  He had the top zone rating of all NL SS last year.  He is a good teammate who plays it all, like a Phil Garner type. Barajas is a top flight D catcher and signal caller, with some power in his bat.  

These are two solid, but not spectacular, signings which fill important gaps.  I’m glad that the catcher who worked with the 2011 Cy Young Winner will be catching our young staff in 2012. 

Lastly, I appreciate the importance of getting the BEST D F/A SS available on the market; I believe that is a fair statement, certainly considering the top two SS are to be WAY overpaid.


 Tim how bout an android app before the meetings ur killing me. And now who backs up at ss. Onlyreal options now are ciriaco and chase. how does josh harrison or another 3b/MI addition fit in? If chase or mercer force the issue Barmes is great in the super utility role


The Pirates don’t spend enough money!   The Pirates spend too much money for what they got!  The Pirates are fielding a minor league team, they should get some veterans!   The Pirates are signing too many veterans that aren’t working out, they should let the young guys play!   Of course I could go on all day…

Here is the reality of the world of MLB, which appears to elude a few of you:

1.   No matter how much money the Pirates came up with, Reyes/Fielder/Pujols/etc. will not come here.  

2.   Even if they COULD get them to come here, they aren’t in position to have 1 player’s salary make up 33% of their payroll.   What happens if that player gets hurt?   You’re screwed.   It isn’t like with the Yankees/Red Sox/Etc that have infinitely deep pockets to throw money at mistakes.   Anyone notice when the Red Sox paid Mike Cameron big money and he sucked?   Probably not, because they can just afford to pay someone else and let him ride the pine.   If the Pirates had done that, they would have been set back several years.

3.  The Pirates couldn’t afford to attempt another maddening year with Cedeno at shortstop and Doumit at catcher.   Cedeno looked like the second coming of Ozzie Smith at times, but looked like the second coming of Abraham Nunez at other times.   No one questions his talent, but if he hasn’t put it all together by age 29, it probably isn’t going to happen.   Barmes appears to be at least his equal defensively, but he hit 12 home runs (Cedeno had 2).   Despite what many would have you believe, they weren’t all hit at hitter friendly parks.  In fact, 2 of them occurred at PNC Park (if he played all of the games that the Astros played there last year it would have been a total of 9)   2 HRs in 9 games at PNC isn’t too bad.  

Doumit could hit the ball fine, but couldn’t catch a cold or stop a basketball in the dirt.   Besides, he didn’t want to be here anymore.   I think that’s pretty clear by the 1 year $3 million dollar deal that he signed with the Twins with no guarantee of playing time.   Doumit hit 8 HR and 30 RBIs in 77 games and 218 ABs.   Barajas hit 16 HRs and had 47 RBIs in 98 games and 305 ABs.    Barajas has a much lower average, to be sure, but is overall the better catcher.   To recap, two players with more power and better defense at similar cost to what would have been spent Doumit/Cedeno.

4.  Whether you want to remember it accurately or not, the Pirates contended for 2/3 of this past season.   They can’t afford to throw the young guys out there and hope they are ready.   They may not contend again this upcoming year, but they might.   They undoubtedly targeted players they wanted and were agressive in signing them.   It would seem that it would make sense to at least wait until at least the end of the offseason, if not all of 2012 to judge these moves.   If 1 or both players bomb, have at it next year. 


Steve Glenn

No problem with what you said except please explain to me how Barmes is worth 2.25 million more than a Cedeno?  10 more homers?

If Cedeno needed go, fine…but if the top attribute for our SS is defense with below average offense, I feel we could have found one for 2-3 million and used the extra money we used on Barmes to make a legit 3 year offer to a Cuddyer or a two year offer to a Capuano.

Just my 2 cents


Steve ~ Cedeno was benched seemingly every month.  Enough said.  BUt there is much more.  Cedeno’s D was infuriatingly inconsistent.  He lacked power.  Ronnie was not a major asset in the clubhouse, and MAY have been a detriment with his benchings.  However, I must say that I liked Ronnie, and felt he gave it all that he had; he just DID NOT have that much.

You can throw out all of your possible and desirable signings, like Cuddyer or Capuano or any other name in the game; the fact is, this franchise is still limited as to who will come here.  Without a doubt, this F/O just signed the 3rd best FA SS available.  This is a STRONG signing.

Steve Glenn

The article says as a backup or defensive replacement.


That was meant a lil tongue in cheek but in all seriousness the teams that lose out on reys and rollins would be looking right at barmes. After him the market does start heading towards jack wilson(maybe the worst player in the majors now)and the like. So they had to overpay a lil to get the deal done and shift focus elsewhere.


Oh and Joe friggin Nathan just signed with rangers for $7mill per. If Hanny isn’t traded I will be doing some serious bashing. and considering the options available i’ve been fairly content with these stopgap signings.
If they throw Mercer or Chase out there daily and he makes a fool of hisself you can lose a valuable asset through poor development. At least let them show they have improved on the things theyre lacking before theyre handed a job. Worst case you dont destroy any trade value they may have.

Johan Graybow

Im telling the to shut up because they are acting like kids.

Maholm sucks, Doumit is the worst catcher alive, Overbay is the worst signing ever. Cedeno should have been DFA years ago!
They get rid of Maholm, Cedeno and Doumit and everyone is outraged!
—the pirates wont get anyone because they never get anyone,,we will have no one playing SS or  C and only have four pitchers because NH never does anything.

The pirates get an upgrade at C and SS and everyone is still pissed.

Its bs they are trying…
last year we were competitive and while the rational person would have seen that it wasnt going to hold up.

If NH trades Hanrahan he will get assassinated, now everyone is saying we should trade Hanrahan. 

Peace out homeboys 
–When the Pirates actual win WITH the current management everyone will say that NH is brilliant and they supported him all the way

Matt Beam

Amen brother… 19 years has turned into a cancer… unfortunately, people will be pissed no matter what until the winning starts again

Timothy Piper

I’m pretty sure the “outrage” over releasing Maholm and Doumit isn’t that people are flip-flopping on the merits of either player; rather it’s questioning why either wasn’t traded during the season for prospects.  If management had no plans to pick up options on either player, then what was the benefit of keeping them around the entire season?  I believe Doumit had an injury at the deadline, so that point is moot, but Maholm would’ve netted (I assume) a pretty decent return.

As for releasing Cedeno, NOBODY is outraged.  The argument isn’t Cedeno vs. Barmes (although a case could be made that Cedeno would’ve been the cheaper alternative with a marginal difference in talent), rather it’s Barmes vs virtually any other available shortstop.

Calling Barajas and Barmes upgrades at C and SS lends zero credence towards the talents of Barajas or Barmes.  It’s hard to be less talented than Mike McKenry and Chase d’Arnaud.

If NH trades Hanrahan I certainly won’t “assassinate” him, nor would any reasonable fan.  Closers are typically overvalued, and if NH can seize that opportunity then I’m all for it.  Hell, he has to give us a bigger return than Capps…what did we get for that guy, anyway?


Timothy ~ I’m sure you complained when they traded Bay and Nady and McLouth and Snell and Paulino for prospects.  Regarind last summer, NOBODY wanted to give the Pirates any value in propects for Doumit or Maholm.  This is why Douey signed for one year at $3M to be a back-up DH for the Twins.


Hey, they only got slightly less for an All-Star closer than they got for the guy who has led the majors in home runs the past two seasons.  You apparently aren’t considering their “internal value.”

Todd Smith

I’m still outraged that we didn’t manage to get a couple of top 50 prospects back for Bautista.  I mean, he was coming off that .254/.339/.414 season.  He had huge value.


I’m glad that YOU saw that coming from Joey Bats, Nich.  YOU were the only one in America (and even Toronto) who did!  Congrats

Vicente Barletta

I think there is a double standard here. I’m sure that if the Brewers had signed Barmes there would be a lot of bashing against the Pirates blaming them for not being aggressive enough. 
I think Cedeño lost his job by his own fault. He had 2+years to prove himself and failed. I would have kept him but as a backup. He seems to play very well when he is benched, anyway. 

Johan Graybow

If the pirates wouldnt have gotten anyone everyone on here would be ready to shoot NH and FC in the face. Be happy they are trying to get someone who is better then Cedeno. 


That’s was an argument made about acquiring Overbay…he was better than the first baseman from the previous year.

Johan Graybow

exactly you take a chance on the better player if it works out…great
if not get rid of him…exactly what the pirates did

besides if he was such a terrbile player and if it was a joke that the pirates signed him why would a team like the d-back sign him after he was benched


Because he cost them the a pro-rated share of the major league minimum.  They also understood that Overbay wasn’t an everyday player and certainly not worth $5M.

Well, $5M for a player who is a marginal talent, miscast for the Pirates, and fails miserably.  I’d say we only have to watch this play out again, to see this entire story again.

Steve Glenn

You’re always into numbers….Justify to me how Barmes is worth 2.25 million more dollars than a Cedeno.  More than that actually, because we’re on the hook for 2013.

Your articles always state that the Pirates have to be “smart” with their money….the main attribute the Pirates wanted in a SS was a good defense…Cedeno and Barmes are a wash in this comparison, so by reason of logic I am to assume Barmes’ offense and “intangibles” are worth the extra 2.5 million?

That’s not even saying we had to bring Ronnie back, but there had to be a defensive SS option that was far less than 5.25 million.  I just think that $ would have been better spent somewhere else.

I mean Cuddyer’s looking for 3 years/27-30million…if we save the 2.25 million a year on a average SS, Cuddyer is within our range of 3/20-23 million. or a Capuano who will only get a couple years at 4million per.

Just seems like a waste of money, especially at SS.

Todd Smith

…and I wouldn’t say Cedeno and Barmes are a wash defensively either.  Cedeno has a -5.1 career UZR at SS.  Barmes has a career 20.8 UZR at SS.  Barmes is a significant improvement.

Todd Smith

Cedeno was a 1.4 WAR player in 2011.  At $3MM for the year, that’s $2.14MM per win.  Barmes was a 3.1 WAR player in 2011.  At $5.25MM for the year, that’s $1.69MM per win.

Matt Beam


Could the Pirates still afford Cuddyer at 1B or would the 3rd year, which seems like the only way they could get him, make it much more difficult to sign Cutch and/or Walker? I love his right handed bat, versatility, and winning background and would much rather see him than Carlos Pena or the like.

I’d also personally not spend much on the bullpen again so 1B and SP would be the only areas I’d still want to address. Assuming any SP will be a 1-2 year type deal that just helps us bridge to Cole (and if we’re really lucky Taillon)?

Matt Beam

thanks for the insight – living in Cincy, I got to witness the small sample size of Yonder Alonso 1st hand this past summer and love his bat. I think the Reds want to acquire a top line SP to go with Cueto and need to use Alonso as the main piece in that type of deal, but if they get no takers, would you be willing to deal Joel straight up for him? and would the Reds?


Because those aren’t the only options.  If all your options are junk, and they are, you minimize the cost, you don’t maximize it.  Maximizing it makes no business sense.

Johan Graybow

The arguments on this site are absolutely terrible. 

Here are the available shortstops: 
ShortstopsClint Barmes (33) – Type B, Yuniesky Betancourt (30) – Type B, Andres Blanco (28)Orlando Cabrera (37), Ronny Cedeno (29), Craig Counsell (41)Rafael Furcal (34) – Type B , Alex Gonzalez (34) – Type B, Jerry Hairston Jr. (36)Cesar Izturis (32), Nick Punto (34), Edgar Renteria (35), Jose Reyes (29) – Type ALuis Rodriguez (32), Jimmy Rollins (33) – Type A, Ramon Santiago (32), Jack Wilson (34)Josh Wilson (31), Brandon Wood (27)

I’m taking Barmes every single time!!!!
-They cant, wont, and shouldn’t get Rollins or Reyes
–First they’d have to overpay like crazy to bring a player that came go to a better team, no one will choose to go to a losing team just because.
–Second they would screw themselves out of resigning any other above average MLB player because they have no flexibility.
–Third they are injury prone: are you really going to pay Reyes 20M to ride the bench
–Forth i wont be suprised to see both player turn into Alfonso Soriano 2.0

we still have Mercer and d’Arnaud if Barmes fails and the team can definitely cut Barmes if he isnt performing.

Shut up and be happy that management is trying to build a contender, it doesnt happen overnight. We saw winning baseball for a majority of the season last year….its showing progress. 

Learn from the Red Sox!

P.S. Good Job my man Timmy Williams  

Matt Beam

Another thing… what is one sentence Ronny Cedeno has never uttered during his time as a major leaguer?

(from yesterday’s conf call – last half of the statement)
“I think there’s a lot of promise and a lot of good things to come,” Barmes said of his new team. “I’m excited to step in and play a leadership role in the infield.”Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11326/1191669-63-2.stm#ixzz1eRZKXqSo


1)  If you see winning baseball for a “majority of the season” you have a winning record.  That would be the definition of the “majority of the season.”  The Pirates didn’t – not even close.

2)  I know a building a contender doesn’t happen overnight, but apparently it doesn’t happen over 19 years…or 4 rebuilds…or 3 different GMs…

3)  They wouldn’t have financial flexibility?  Really?  They had the 3rd lowest payroll in baseball last year and have cut a lot of that by dropping Maholm, Snyder, Doumit, etc.  Even if they would add Reyes AND Fielder at 20 million per year each, they would only be around 75 million in payroll – or right about where another “small market” team – Cincinnati – is.  They would also still be in the bottom half of the league in payroll. Not sure how much more financial flexibility you want.

I understand wanting to support the team, but your arguments just aren’t factual.


Nice.  Another violations of Tim’s wanting people to act like adults, telling other contributors to shut up.

I think I can sum up your post.  The Pirates are smart to over pay for players who aren’t that good and aren’t as good as other players at the same position.


i think a lot if not most of this anger is based on frustration over the FACT that the Bucs cannot make serious plays for the top FA. I understand that to a point but at some point get over it and look at the positives in what theyve been able to do. These top FAs want long 5-9 yr deals at salaries heading toward $20 mill. Years 1-3 might be ok for the Bucs if these players played at a high level but after that when they decline even a lil the (guaranteed)contract becomes an albatross. You can’t even get equal value in trade because teams know you have to dump. Now I do believe if they felt like they were 1 piece away they could maybe overpay for a shorter term deal(kind of like theyve done with Barmes/Barajas) but most top FAs don’t have to settle for that.
As far as some of the retreads, thats the price of doing business. They did get Snyder and Ciriaco for Church etc. Ciriaco may prove to be a serviceable major leaguer. Some guys just didnt perform for some reason, Diaz and Overbay were somewhat productive after leaving. Whether thats bescause they lack protection in the lineup or just werent comfortable who knows but playoff contenders had interest in them and had no issue plugging them into there lineups.
Basically the $ spent on Doumit Snyder and Cedeno was savedf and put towards 2 healthier more consistent players with plenty left over to spend. And that doesnt even include the savings from Cy Maholm.
I for one will be really surprised if they dont make at least 1 splash trade and another decent signing whether thats Lee or Pena or Willingham. Honestly after Pujols Fielder Reyes and maybe Ramirez there is no big time player to get. Rollins has plenty of issues,injuries age $ consistency, Cuddyer is eh.

Brandon Richards

This goes back to when the Pirates drated Tallion. They had a chance to fix shortstop, they realized they needed the ace more than the ss. Some would argue they needed a ss before another pitcher in the system, but at the same time, you can’t fault them for going either direction. The Pirates haven’t gotten serious about drafting until about 2008, so let’s give it time. You can’t restock every position in one draft, it takes time. I would bet that given the chance, the Pirates will be drafting one soon, but I’ll be happy to see Cedeno go and his mental make up that losing is okay, watch him play, he didn’t care. It’s the same reason Chicago, Seattle and now Pittsburgh all told Ronny, it’s time to move on.


It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 
Barmes = Barajas = Overbay = Diaz = Church = Hinske and so on.  Once again, rather than doing something different and pooling the team’s resources to spend money on one legitimate impact (or even good) free agent that might actually be a noticable upgrade to the team, they continue the same pattern.  They spend a couple million here and a couple million there to bring in 3 or 4 aging “name veterans” on the downside of their careers that are lateral moves or, at best, nominal upgrades that make no difference in the actual win total of the team.
So now, the only question that remains is this:  Who is the most insane – team management for doing the same thing over and over even though history has continuously shown this doesn’t work, people like Mr. Williams who continuously believe that this same method will improve the team, or people like me who continue to follow the team despite management’s lacluster effort and willingness to change their methods?


But you’re forgetting – they HAVE brought the same player multiple times year after year after releasing them.  Their names are Jose Hernandez and Tyler Yates.


They rotate bad mistakes.  Its the end of an odd numbered off season, so they brought in the next version of Iwamura.  Last year, was the end of an even numbered year, so the made the same mistake twice in getting a bad version of Overbay and a worse version of Overbay.  It most certainly seems like they are doing the same things over again, hoping (not even planning) on a different result.

What makes them the same besides the Pirates signing him.  Barmes annual salary is almost the same as Iwamura’s for similar poor production.  Both are middle infielders with injury histories and light weight hitting.  Both were in their 30s.  Both players had few takers other than the Pirates.  Seems pretty similar.

Barajas and Overbay are also similar.  Old players in their mid-30s.  The only difference being that Barajas breaks down a bit more.  Both over paid in about the same way.  Both had below average offensive stats for their position.  Both performed below their career averages the year prior to coming to the Pirates.  Both had significant increases in strike out the year before playing for the Pirates. Both saw their batting average drop the year before becoming a Pirate.  Again, there are a lot similarities. 


Well, he does.  He’s missed significant time due to injuries in his career.  The fact that you identified just one inconsistency (with which I disagree), tells me there are quite a few similarities.


I can name a lot of players who haven’t missed that many games due to injury, over much longer careers than Barmes.  I’d say its pretty significant.


I will start with Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripkin Jr.  Then there are:  Pete Rose, Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Robin Yount, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Raphael Palmiero, Mel Ott, Darrel Evans, Lou Brock, Michael Young, Steve Finley, Luis Apparicio, Ozzie Smith, Paul Waner, Ernie Banks, Earl Averill, Billy Williams, Vada Pinson, Fred McGriff, Wade Boggs, Derek Jeter, Dom DiMaggio, Pete O’Brien, Willie Davis, Mike Hargrove, Buddy Bell, Mike Schimdt, Del Pratt, Jason Thompson, Eddie Mathews, Roberto Alomar, Al Oliver, Nellie Fox, Steve Garvey, Albert Pujols, Charlie Gehringer, Duffy Lewis, Tom Brunansky, Adam Dunn, Chuck Knoblauch, Jimmie Foxx, Rocky Colavito, Larry Bowa, Doug Rader, Felix Milan, Bobby Abreu, Mark Grace, Ron Santo, Lance Berkman, Garrett Anderson, Richie Ashburn, Joe Carter, Tim Wallach, Pee Wee Reese, Harry Hooper, Brett Butler, Thurman Munson, Miguel Tajada, Bobby Bonilla, Ken Singleton, Todd Helton, George Sisler, Ed Konetchy, Jackie Jensen, Paul Konerko, Carlos Lee, Maury Wills, Joe Sewell, Del Ennis, Bob Johnson, Bobby Doerr, Joe Gordon, and Ichiro Suzuki.


Not the point.  I said he gets hurt a lot.  You said he didn’t,even though you admitted he’s been hurt in three of his 9 MLB years (33% of his career).  

You asked me to defend my argument and show you a lot of players who didn’t get hurt.  I did.  By the way, many of those players aren’t hall of famers either.I agree Barmes isn’t good.  His numbers show that to be accurate, not his lack of hall of fame status.  He isn’t reliable.  His games played numbers show that to be an accurate assertion on my part.  Your accurate admission that he’s missed significant playing time because of injuries further support that he is unreliable.


Well, that is a matter of perspective. You obviously think that 33% of one’s career is no big deal. I’ve proven you wrong but you won’t admit it. Honestly, I don’t care.  Your failure to own up to any degree of intellectual honest, is your failure.  

You pretended that Barmes propensity to injury is no bid deal. I proved to you how it is but you can’t bring yourself to admit that I am right.

I don’t need your pseudo validation.  The numbers are on my side.  


He’s missed significant parts of three seasons, out of nine. That is 33%.

I’ve shown you how he has missed an extraordinary amount of games.  Now, you are trying to argue by extreme, which isn’t how you began this debate.  He has missed a lot of games, now you are trying to hide behind different criteria.  The fact is, that he’s missed an extraordinary amount of games due to injury.  I showed you, by comparison, how this is fact. You can admit that I’m right or simply pretend that the fact are wrong.

When I stated that Barmes is prone to injury, you challenged me to show you.  I did. When I did, you tried to divert the discussion by changing the direction of the discussion.  I’m not going to let you do that.  Barmes does indeed get hurt a lot relative to most players.  

Honestly, I don’t care.  I know that I’m right and that you are hiding behind discussions that I didn’t initiate.  You should simply admit that I am right and move on to the next discussion.


I agree that we disagree.  I also agree that I am right about Barmes.

Ron Leighton

seems like his injuries are same kind Doumit gets, broken bone type rather than chronic muscel pulls. Doumit has had concussion issues too.  But it doesn’t seem like eitther is really injury prone but they have had the misfortune to suffer injuries that take a lot of recovery time.

Timothy Piper

And why shouldn’t fans lump Barmes in with the plethora of other offseason deals for lackluster talent? 

– All of them were signed with little competition from other teams (I will consent that saying so is a presumption). 
– All of them were given millions of dollars, or more, and generally did not justify their contracts.
– All of them are flawed veterans, either coming off down years, had careers below expectations as prospects, or are nearing the end of solid careers and were not likely to continue to perform at the same level.
– And most, if not all of them, were flipped at the deadline for mid-level (or worse) prospects; the only significant return I can recall on any of these players is McDonald.

I could say the above about Overbay, Diaz, Crosby, Church, Vazquez (although he was released), and others with some measure of truth in those words, and I would bet that I can say the same about Barmes before the 2012 season ends.

THAT is what makes this signing (and the Barajas signing) insane.  You may say that their only common strand is that they were all signed for the Pirates, but show me another team that has made similar transactions each and every year and produced DIFFERENT results.

Ron Leighton

Doesn’t sound like the Bucs really had that much competition for Barmes.  Just pay him more and for one year longer and he is glad to go to Pittsburgh.  He doesn’t seem to think his glove was in much demand at short.  Here is a quote from Christie Robinson tweet:

Barmes said he had a handful of offers from other teams, mostly 1 yr
deals & wanting him to play 2B. Said he’s happy to be back w/ Hurdle
8 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite

Vince Riedy

Barmes is a solid signing. He is a good glove man and very versatile should one of the shortstops become major league ready or Pedro flat out busts again and there is a need to move Walker to third.

Justin Gray

RE: Olney…

“the shortstop market is like a game of musical chairs with 10 participants and only four chairs.” 

The Barmes signing is far from ideal, but he’s probably the best player they could’ve filled the spot with for this season. 

If all goes well, hopefully d’Arnaud or Mercer will be ready to take the job by the trade deadline 2013.


I’m just wondering, among those of you who don’t like the signing, who (and I mean specific names) would you rather have had? Assuming that Cedeno’s option (which I thought they would pick up) was declined because he and Hurdle didn’t get along, or they were tired of the occasional boneheaded plays Cedeno would make, I’m just wondering. And if you thought the ideal move would have been a trade, who would you have traded for and at what cost? Just wondering.


Spot on comment !  I’m not a huge fan of the signing, but outside of Reyes and Rollins, there’s not much out there.  But I’d really like to see those that are so vehemently against this to give some better alternative, as opposed to just stating all the “this signing sucks” crap.


I can’t speak for any of the other detractors, but I’d just as soon have d’Arnaud play the full season at SS.  He may need a lot of work, but unless you actually expect the Pirates to contend, does it matter?  Will 70 wins with Barmes do anything more for the team than 68 wins with d’Arnaud?  Let d’Arnaud take his lumps and show for a full season what he has.  It’s not hurting the team any in the overall picture, and at least you’re getting a look at what you have over the course of a full season from a player that could be a part of the team’s future.

I think a lot of people feel like you can’t criticize the team if you’re a fan.  Conversely, I’d argue that if you DON’T criticize the team, you’re less of a fan for apathetically watching the yearly embarrassment of this team and saying nothing negative for fear of being called a “poor fan.”


Nicholas ~ I’m NOT in favor of d”Arnaud being given the starting SS position.  I am in FAVOR of Barmes at SS, and let d’Arnaud’s game mature.


I’m also hoping d’Arnaud develops for the Bucs, but IMO he won’t develop as a hitter as well in the bigs as he would working at AAA without the pressure.  If he lights it up there, then bring him up and put Barmes as a strong utility player.
   And I have no problem with anyone critical of the team’s roster moves.  But there’s way too much: “this move is stupid” or “Barmes is garbage” ; but they don’t say what would have been a BETTER move.

Timothy Piper

Openly calling for signing one of the most mediocre shortstops in the league may not be a defense of the front office, but it sure does raise questions, personally, about Tim’s ability to assess talent.

Ryan Rauschenberg

Considering he was the best shortstop that would have even thought about coming here, I see no problem.

Unless you TRULY think people were calling for Barmes over somebody like Jose Reyes.  But you aren’t a moron, so I won’t assume that of you.

Timothy Piper

Since I don’t think Barmes is any better or worse than any other available shortstop on the market, I would have likely invited a handful to spring training as NRIs, and get the best of the bunch for veteran minimum.  I just don’t see the sense in locking up a player for that much money when his performance is not likely to justify it.

At Barmes’s age and current level of production, he’s not going to be seen as a long term solution, and yet we are paying him for two years of service regardless of how he performs in 2012.  Why?

Todd Smith

So instead of improving the position, you’d rather just ignore the position.  Solid plan.


Timothy ~ I’m glad Huntington is in the F/O, and not you (in all due respect); you’re suggestion of inviting non-roster invitees to become our starting SS is…well, NOT the way to approach one of the most important D positions in the game.

Justin Gray

In Tim’s credit, he is not defending Barmes just because the Pirates signed him.  He had been calling for a  Barmes signing since the beginning of the offseason.

So either he is a secret employee of the Pirates who was tipped off on what they were going to do, or he has always thought Barmes was the best realistic option.  Decide for yourself what is more reasonable.  Disagreeing with him is one thing and something we’re all allowed to do, but i don’t think saying that he defends the front office blindly is the way to win this particular argument, since he’s been calling for Barmes since before he was signed.  

Personally, I think Cedeno for 3 would have been the right move, but this has Clint Hurdle’s fingertips all over it in my opinion.  And i definitely don’t see this as a bad move either.

Eric Brosius

Did anyone read what Buster Onley wrote about the signing??

Justin Hunter

“After all, Barmes did: two years and a reported $11 million from the
Pirates. The price seems steep until you realize that Pittsburgh just
grabbed one of the few decent defensive shortstops available, and that
when the music stops, there will be three or four teams left without a


Keith Law isn’t a secret employee of the Pirates, unlike someone I know …

Ed Smallwood

Keith Law is a big fan of the move…

“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. Barmes spent all of his career prior to 2011 with the Colorado Rockies, then spent a year in Houston Astros, a good park for right-handed hitters. Removing 9 intentional walks — and really, the managers who saw fit to walk Clint Barmes should be sent back to Remedial Managing 101 — Barmes has a career road line of .230/.272/.361. And at 33 years old in 2012, he’s much more likely to get worse on offense and defense than he is to get better. 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.”

Justin Hunter

“then spent a year in Houston Astros, a good park for right-handed hitters.”

Pretty good observation… except for the fact that Barmes splits were much better on the road last year than at home.  In 2011 Away OPS .732 and Home OPS .661.

Shawn Annarelli

In any case, signing a mediocre 33-year old SS with no upside is a bad move. The money being put into his back pocket could be well spent elsewhere. Spend it on the next best international free agent.  Put it toward signing McCutchen long term. But for the love of God don’t make multimillion dollar signings for over-aged, past their prime rent-a-vets before you go all out to explore options that ARE going to solidify the team long term. Barajas and Barmes are dollar store band-aids on an infection that need a better solution than a band-aid.


Gee, why would people complain when the Pirates sign mediocre to below average stop-gap veterans each off-season?     It has worked out so well the past few seasons.

– Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz, Ramon Vazquez, Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby, Aki Iwamura


It’s amazing how you continue to defend the Pirates’ moves, Tim.

They grab a glove-first, no-hit, aging shortstop (whose few offensive virtues likely won’t translate to PNC Park) and you’re throwing around words like “upgrade” and “ideal offseason.”

To your credit, you’ve built a strong following and a must-read site, even for Pirate fans who couldn’t disagree more with your opinions. I just wish you’d use the platform — and your resources —  to educate people on why this front office is same old same old instead of the second coming.

Ryan Rauschenberg

This one time, Dave Littlefield drafted Josh Bell and Jameson Taillon, and signed Luis Heredia.

Getting sick of hearing those names?  I suppose it’s an eye for an eye, as I get sick of people thinking this is the same old stuff.

Ed Smallwood

Good to know.  Can you please link us to one FA signing or trade acquisition that you didn’t like?  Diaz, Overbay, Church, Iwamura…any one will do.  I’m curious to see your willingness to criticize management.  Mmmmkkkkthanks.


I just found your Diaz signing piece on teh Googles, Tim. Here’s how you ended it:

“Personally I would have rather stuck with Milledge.”

Disagreement with the front office? Sure. Real criticism when it was warranted after such a move? Hardly.


Opie sucks?

Ed Smallwood

I did…posted below.  You thought they were “upgrades,” although you fortunately stopped short of calling them “ideal.”

Ed Smallwood

Best.  Sentence.  Ever.:

While Barmes’ offense is below average for the position, his offense is better than the majority of defensive shortstops.

Andy Owens

That’s generally been the case with every non-bullpen Minor league FA NH has signed, but feel free to disagree with that and justify it.

Andy Owens

Are these two viable SS candidates at AAA 2 more full seasons at AAA away from the majors? If so, they aren’t exactly viable candidates, no way around that.

Andy Owens

Are these two viable SS candidates at AAA 2 more full seasons at AAA away from the majors? If so, they aren’t exactly viable candidates, no way around that.


Haven’t you noticed, no matter what the Pirates do everyone complains!

Ron Leighton

For me the Bucs approach the major league roster as if it is insignificant.  The front office is just biding its time until it thinks it is ready to contend and is not really working towards reaching that stage as fast as it can. There is no sense of urgency (its like a football team using the entire clock when 2 scores down with a minute to go).  As a fan, I would feel a lot better if I thought the front office was trying hard to win and win soon rather than some unknown time when stars have aligned.


With this signing, along with the catching upgrade, the Bucs have now solidified themselves up the middle, absolutely critical to a team with the pitching staff they have, if they get 240-250 out of Barmes, that will be enough offensively, their offense is not going to revolve around him or any other SS they could have gotten.


This was a great singing!!! I dont know what is wrong with you people! There is no one out there better that the pirates could get. We are not getting Rollins or Reyes and Barmes was the third best. And all the advanced stats in the world I dont give  a crap about! He is a gamer and a ball player. Cedeno got the least out of his talents and Barmes gets the most. He delivers professional at bats and does not take a play off. Also his best offensive years were with Clint Hurdle. I am projecting .265 with 15 hrs out of the 7 or 8 hole which would be incredible! Everybody said go get a SS. He was the best they could get and they got him and everyone complains. Short of Reyes or Rollins you would have complained about everyone.


His best offensive years were in Colorado, which is obviously not a coincidence.     He also owns a .276/.361/.637 line away from the friendly confines of Colorado and Houston, which is pretty putrid.

Charlie Hildbold

a .276/.361/.637 line would make him a top 5 SS…nothing putrid about those numbers at all…but I’m guess you quoted them wrong.

Ron Leighton

It could turn out to be a great signing if your prediction is true.

But he did hit just 245, 235 and 244 the last 3 years.

Ron Leighton

with what appears to be a dearth of short stops, the Rockies didn’t move Barmes to other teams when they had a surplus of shortstops.  I think the stats are over rating Barmes, but hope he does well with Bucs, if he doesn’t it is a strike against NH and his talent evaluators and in my opinion it should be strike 3 (unless he balances it with at least one real improvement in team this off season.)

F Lang

The way Barmes plays offensively and defensively it will feel a little like we have Jack Wilson back.

Matt Beam

with some power

Vince Riedy

A poor man’s Jack Wilson. Wilson in his day was better than Barmes defensively.


2 things stand out for me…First, the Pirates are willing to spend money even if it means overpaying slightly in a not so stellar FA year, and Secondly, the fact the Barmes (from what I’ve seen) will play his butt off every chance he gets. No more, head scratching lack of hustle on the bases, or laziness to watch. I will take a roster full of players who hustle and work hard over some more slightly talented players that go through the motions. As another poster noted, on to 1st base and hopefully add some depth to the starting pitching staff.

Jack Mcelligott

The whole reason for Barnes is to get consistency which we havent gotten with Cedeno. Its crazy to say we overpaid for Barnes.  Even if we did we got an upgrade which is what NH is suppose to do.

Matt Beam

Like the moves so far this off-season but we’re still not going to sniff 0.500 unless there are further upgrades at 1B and SP and significant improvements made this coming year by our young outfielders, pitchers, and Pedro, Still feels like way to many things need to turn out right…

No disrespect to anybody’s opinion, but Barmes is about a 3.0 WAR player so anybody that suggests him and Cedeno “are about the same” is crazy. Barmes won’t dissappear for an entire month.

At some point this year or next, we need to figure out how we use our outfield depth and Hanrahan’s super high value to fill positions of need longer term for this team.



WAR #s

05  2.0
06  -.8
07  -.3
08  2.0
09  1.7
10  .6
11  3.1

Cherry picking stats to justify Barmes as a major league plus SS isnt going to work.  Players at 33-34 are well past their prime.  A lesson no Pirate GM seems to understand when free agency period begins.

Matt Beam

Cedeno’s WAR #’s during the same time period

05 mostly at AAA06  -1.607 mostly at AAA08  0.209  -0.410  1.111  1.4

The only reason 2011 is above 1.0 is because his defensive performance spiked for the first time in his career. Barmes has CONSISTENTLY been above average defensively his entire career. My guess is Hurdle wanted consistent and reliable performance, instead of another year of constantly needing to babysit Cedeno to keep him focused.


Tim said this….Barmes has been one of the better defensive shortstops in the league the last few years, and his strong performance ranges almost every defensive metric.  

What a fail of a story.  Barmes hasnt played SS the last few years.  He played SS last year for the first time in five years. But yeah, go ahead and call Barmes a top SS, completely ignore the fact that he is an awful bat, much worse than his ball park aided stats show.

What ever happened to the Bucs plan?  We are now on our fifth year of the latest GM and we continue to sign mediocre players and hand them starting roles. 

If we have such a great farm system, and teams are now overpaying for prospects, why cant we trade some of ours for a young SS who might actually be much better than roster filler like Barmes?

Of course, we have two SS prospects who played in AAA last year, have we already admitted they are failures?  Or are they just suppose to sit in AAA the next two years waiting for Barmes to retire? 


2011  122 games for 1058 innings
2010  47/361
2009  16/103
2008  36/285
2007  8/35

This is now our everyday SS.

Wait, you dont think there is a SS under 28 available for trade?

I agree, dArnaud is not ready for the majors right now.  But if he isnt ready this year, he is a failed prospect, or utility guy/fringe major leaguer.  Mercer failed at AAA as well, so he isnt ready either.  Makes me think a trade is the better route than hoping these two cant turn it around.


First your said this, to justify the signing…”Barmes has been one of the better defensive shortstops in the league the last few years, and his strong performance ranges almost every defensive metric”

Now you say this, to justify why Barmes barely played SS for four straight years….”He was behind Tulowitzki in Colorado and only played when Tulo was hurt. Says nothing about Barmes, other than he’s one of many players who aren’t as good as Tulowitzki”

While I agree he is not in the same universe as Tulo, I am not the one who used his SS experience/qualifications as the major basis for signing him.  You did, in your main story.  My point is that its a gross exagerration to say Barmes is going to be a positive defensively, at his age, and with his background. 

And I used Baseball Reference metrics to show that he wasnt anything special last year, virtually identical to Cedeno.

Nate Wilder

 I don’t understand how trading for a SS prospect would be better? You said it yourself that we have two viable prospects at the AAA level. Why block them with another prospect?

Barmes is a veteran who was no doubt brought in to help mentor d’Arnaud and Mercer two players that bounce between middle infield positions just as he has. Don’t understand how this is a bad thing.

I’d rather have Barmes than Cedeno, if that’s what you’re upset about. That’s just me. I’ve played baseball almost my entire life and I’d rather play with a guy who was average at best but played as a teammate than a guy who slid into first, laid down infuriating bunts, and ignored coaches.

Granted I’m no professional, but I’d think the mentality is the same at the majors, at least for someone who, like Barmes, is average at best, such as Cedeno.


Neither of our SS prospects look very viable.  Neither are in BAs top ten that came out today.  dArnaud looked awful on both sides of the ball in the majors.  Mercer OPSed 689 in AAA, though he did show some power.

Trade Marte and Hanrahan, together or with other prospects to fill this gash of a hole in our system.  Its time to stop being satisfied with players who are average at best and start going for guys who might be good major leaguers. 

I will never get a GM who understands the benefit of paying Josh Bell 5 mil to join the organization, and then commits the same amount, annually, to Overbay and Barmes types.  Those guys are over the hill mediocre players.  And they have zero chance to be better than that.


Really?  Hanrahan and Marte…Ok lets create more holes.  Get a clue.
I think this is a smart and calculated move for NH.  This provides a more “consistent” SS and will allowing Mercer/Chase to develop without the pressure of everyday scrutiny. 

Andy Owens

How can you say a guy is one of the best defensively at his position if he hasn’t played that position full time for more than one season in the last five? It is not that hard of a concept to understand Timmy.


Call it what it is, a minor upgrade at a more expensive price than re-signing Ronny Cedeno. I’m not happy or unhappy with this as it means little in the big picture. A weak offensive team has still done nothing to better itself.


Another dumpster dive by our GM.  A two year mistake makes this far worse.  So much for dArnaud and Mercer, they are now buried by our highest paid player.  And what a player he is.  He has been a SS one year of the last five.  His defense last year is rated by Baseball Reference as nearly identical to Cedenos.  His offense is far worse when you realize he has played in two great hitters parks, and is about to move into a bad one for righties.  Home/away OPS splits of 772/637 and OPS+ of 119/81.  Fortunately, instead of being 29 next year like Cedeno, he is going to be 33.This team is going to be awful next year.  There is no way the starting staff has collective career years again.  We have virtually no help in the farm system on the horizon,  Our GMs response is to replace average players with older, less talented ones.  Nice.

Steve Dimmick

considering what was out there this year, i would say the Pirates did a fine job here.  He’s an upgrade, I cant see any fault here.  Thanks NH!

Jack Mcelligott

You are right on.  This is a definite upgrade for the Pirates. Barnes comes to work every day.  The Pirates will be strong up the middle. Now to first base, the starting rotation and the bullpen.

Pirates Prospects Daily



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