Pirates Have Kept in Contact With Clint Barmes

The Pittsburgh Pirates have kept in contact with Clint Barmes, according to Bill Brink of the Post-Gazette.

The Pirates look to be going with Jordy Mercer as the starting shortstop next year, which makes sense as he posted a 1.4 WAR in about half a season’s worth of plate appearances. His value was driven by his offense at the shortstop position, although his defense was below average. Barmes has the best UZR/150 of any shortstop in the majors over the last three seasons. He would be a great option to pair with Mercer, since he could come in as a late inning defensive replacement, or start when the Pirates have an extreme ground ball pitcher like Charlie Morton on the mound.

Barmes doesn’t do anything offensively, making him an older version of Brendan Ryan. The Yankees recently signed Ryan to a two-year, $5 M deal. The deal pays him $2 M per year, with a mutual option for 2016 at $2 M with a $1 M buyout. Barmes would be worth $2 M a year based on what he has done the previous two years with the Pirates (average value per year: $3.6 M). Even in 2013 when he played a reduced role he was worth $3 M.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • IC Bob

    I would imagine the call Barmes got from the Bucs was the first call he got from a ML team this year. What skills Barmes had are declining fast. Lets look elsewhere.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chrishale525 Chris Hale

      I’ll take Clint Barmes on my team any day because of his defense alone. Mercer can’t hold Barmes’ jock at short. In my opinion Mercer’s offense isn’t worth his below average defense. I have no idea how he got a 1.4 WAR . I personally remember Mercer costing us 3 games because of booted balls or bad jumps on GB’s. I want my SS to play above average defense. What ever he does offensively is a bonus, especially when he’s hitting 8th most of the time Mercer is a utility player. He will lokk better than that for stretches but that’s all he will ever be.

      • Jared

        I think the 1.4 WAR comes mostly from the fact that the average SS OPS in MLB last year was like .675 and he was a full 100 points better than that. His value is in his bat at the position.

      • Mr. Goodkat

        Jordy is young, so I’m hoping his defense can still improve some. Unfortunately, he seems to lack range more than anything (based on the eye test), and theres generally not much to be done about that.

        Wishful thinking, I’m sure, but I’m fine with giving him another year to show what he’s capable of.

  • babeadamsforthehall

    Clint Barmes?

    Again?

    Does not sound IDEAL to me in the least.

    Aging defense only shortstop? Pass. There are better, younger defense only shortstops out there who can hit the .185 that Barmess would hit in 2014.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com/author/admin Tim Williams

      Like who?

      • babeadamsforthehall

        Seriously? Gift freaking Ngeope plays better defense and could be just as much of an automatic out as Clint Barmes would be. Pretty much every organization has multiple guys who can field at SS at the major league level but couldn’t hit their way out of a paper bag. Find one with at least a hint of an interesting hit tool and give him a look-see..

        Bringing Barmess back will just give #hurdled a reason to put his ol’ buddy in the lineup far too often. No. Thanks.

        • http://www.piratesprospects.com/author/admin Tim Williams

          Ngoepe had a .560 OPS in Double-A. That’s worse than Barmes the last two years in the majors. Gift was overmatched in Double-A ball. He’d have a strikeout rate well over 50% if he was in the majors today.

          • Jared

            Not to mention we aren’t just talking about a “competent” defensive SS…we’re talking about one of the better/best defensive shortstops in baseball the last several years. He’s not Andrelton Simmons, but he’s got a great glove.

            Playing Ba

            • Jared

              Playing Barmes every 5th day (for Morton) and for defensive substitutions late in games is not a terrible idea.

            • babeadamsforthehall

              The defensive metrics that show Clint Barmes as being unbelievably good defensively have got to be flawed. His range is good but certainly not well above average. He is steady and not flashy and makes the plays that he gets to. But noone can tell me that his range is spectacular. It isn’t. Especially to his left.

          • babeadamsforthehall

            I was only slightly exaggerating.

            There are many shortstops who field the position very very well with little hit tool at AAA. Grab one and plug him in. This alleviates #hurdled using Barmess more than he should, and who knows? Maybe if whomever we get can actually hit .240 while playing great defense it could create value as well as years of control.

  • IC Bob

    I know we all like to get clever with defensive statistic. I am going to go with a simple one. Fielding %. Using that stat Barmes came in next to last in fielding % for NL short stop. The only one behind him was Castro of the Cubs. Now you can scream about his range factor but the fact of the matter is this guy is not only a lousy hitter he is a lousy fielder as well. If it makes the Barmes fans feel better, Mercer was also behind Barmes but barely. There are a lot of SS out there that can play steady ball that can make plays. We don’t need a player who makes the routine play look difficult by leaping into the air to make a throw.

    • babeadamsforthehall

      I will give Barmess credit. He is above average defensively. That being said, you are absolutely right in that he is NOT elite defensively, and there are many other players out there with at least as good of a glove as his. There are many younger players with a better glove who will never get out of the minors because they can’t hit. Well guess what? Barmes can’t hit either. I say bring in some 23 year old from someone else’s AAA team who hit .250 but can field like the dickens. Maybe use a Rule V selection on one. If the guy plays sterling defense and hits .210 in 2014, that’s better than Barmess would do. And he would be cheaper, younger, and have more years of control.

      • Mr. Goodkat

        If there is a 23 year old, gold glove calibur, .250 hitting, AAA SS left unprotected then by all means take him inthe Rule 5.

        The first player I see unprotected this year that fits that description will be the first.

        • babeadamsforthehall

          Not a Rule V but rather a waiver claim…but have you ever heard of Pedro Florimon? Do some research.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

      I’m with you, IC Bob. Let’s stick with the tried and true statistics from the 19th century.

      • IC Bob

        Reads like a little sarcasm! If a player botches the balls he gets to then does it really matter if he gets to them? Additionally how do they determine range. Does Barmes get bonus points for leaping in the air to throw to first base. I have watched him enough to come to the conclusion that either he makes simple plays look difficult or no one ever hits a ball to him so every play he makes is difficult. IO really tried to like the guy but I just don’t like his game. No hit, never takes a pitch and really overrated in the field. IF he came back for the minimum for one year then maybe their is some value there. I think it might be better to get someone more versatile like Justin Turner who the Mets released last week.

        • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

          The definition of “range” depends on the metric being used, but it comes down to your responsibility for a particular zone of the field. Fortunately in Barmes’ case they all agree that he turns more batted balls into outs than the average SS, by a significant margin, and he’s done it his whole career. If you figure that each one of those extra balls he gets to is an out, and each one he gets to but boots is either neutral (would’ve been a single anyway) or just one extra base (throw gets away and puts a runner at second), then he’s way ahead just by being able to field half of those extra balls cleanly (the negative value of an out is much greater than the positive value of a base – or put another way, outs lead to no runs a lot more frequently than single bases lead to runs). So if over the course of a season he gets to an extra 50 balls but makes 10 errors on those, he’s far and away more valuable than the SS who never gets to them in the first place and they wind up as singles even though those extra errors would kill his fielding pct.

          Defensive metrics like DRS (+/-) and UZR aren’t perfect, and they don’t always agree, but when they do there’s enough smoke to yell fire. At any rate they’re certainly better than the eye test, which told us for years that Jeter is a great defensive shortstop, and yet the Yankees never seem to do a good job of turning ground balls in play into outs.

          Nothing I or anyone else writes is going to convince someone who just doesn’t like a player’s game, that’s fine. I just think if you’re going to support an argument using a metric it should be one that takes advantage of the science we’ve accumulated over the last 150 years.

          • IC Bob

            I get what your saying except the metric is flawed. It doesn’t take into account the speed of the ball coming at the player. Its imperfect as are all the metrics. I watched Barmes and he is good maybe above average in range. He is NOT the best or even close to the best (Simmons who I get the pleasure of watching daily in Atl. is the best). Now any stat that says otherwise is completely BS. Barmes may have been a really good shortstop in his day but thats just not the case anymore. I wish it were not true but it is.

            • http://www.facebook.com/stephen.brooks.581 Stephen Brooks

              Well then you and the metrics agree, because you both have Simmons as the #1 SS (the metrics do so by a long shot). Barmes ranks 4th among the 27 SS with 750 innings in UZR. Interestingly, for those who criticize his range, he’s #2 in the league, behind only Simmons.

              You are mistaken about the metrics not accounting for the batted ball speed – UZR does exactly this and it compares the event to 6 years of data from every similar event: batted ball type, speed, location, handedness of the batter, base runners and outs.

  • http://wkkortas.wordpress.com wkkortas

    Paul Janish is a free agent; he’s not Barmes equal with the glove, but he’s an above-average shortstop who’s in the same neighborhood with the bat. If the Pirates can bring him in on the cheap for a look-see, I’d take a flier on him.

  • https://www.facebook.com/brian.nuckols.31 Brian Nuckols

    I’d take Barmes in a second. Depth is so vital and you could do worse than a top defensive SS as a backup. I have faith in Mercer and his ability to mature defensively, but having Barmes late in the game could be big.

  • https://www.facebook.com/scott.skink Scott Skink

    I’ve seen Barmes make some plays in person that were jaw-dropping in a way only someone who’s played at a high level would understand. The guy is very good.

    That said, I’m sure the Cards would listen to Pete Kozma. You know, the no-hit, even poorer fielding SS who was their starter in an NL pennant year.

  • dr dng

    Everyone is forgetting one thing. I want a shortstop who can hit a left handed pitcher so Mercer can move to 2nd base when Walker faces a
    tough left hander that he can’t hit. Barmes seemed to do that
    decently well at times last year.

    I’d pay Barmes no more than 1.5 m. to fill the backup role and I mean backup role. His defense sometimes makes me cringe and all I remember is the mistakes he does make in the field.

    If someone is better, (and younger) who can fill the role
    or who can also fill at 2nd & 3rd base against lefties
    then lets give him a look.

  • Hank

    Throw out the defensive metrics, as we all know they can be bent in one way or another, and use your eyes. Barmes is an average defensive shortstop who is declining fast……and can’t hit worth a lick. As someone earlier said, if we sign him, it just gives Hurdle an excuse to play him too much. I wouldn’t mind having him around to play like 20% of the time, but I don’t trust Hurdle to contain himself.