The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Clint Barmes and Rod Barajas over the off-season, looking at each player for values other than offense. So far on the season, both players have put up some horrible offensive numbers. Yet each is getting playing time. Barmes is getting playing time because of his defense. His 17.5 UZR/150 leads all qualified major league shortstops. Barajas is getting time mostly for his ability to work well with the pitching staff. UZR isn't perfect, but it's the best attempt at quantifying defense. It's nearly impossible to quantify a catcher's relationship with the staff, as most stats on the subject (CERA, for example) are untrustworthy.
The trade off for the defense and the work with the pitchers is that on most occasions, the Pirates have what amounts to three pitcher...
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