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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Pirates Agree to Terms With Clint Barmes

Buster Olney reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are close to re-signing shortstop Clint Barmes.

Jon Heyman says the two sides have agreed to terms.

Clint Barmes will be returning to Pittsburgh. (Photo Credit: David Hague)
Clint Barmes will be returning to Pittsburgh. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

There were a lot of people who didn’t like Barmes being on the team the last two years. Some of that had to do with his salary, which ended up being more than he was worth. Some of that had to do with a lack in trust in advanced defensive metrics, which grade him highly. Barmes does have value, especially to a team like the Pirates who prioritize ground ball pitchers and defensive shifts.

Over the last three years, he has graded as the best defensive shortstop in the majors, according to UZR. He doesn’t do anything with the bat, but his defensive value makes him worth bringing back as a bench player. He also has value as a starter when extreme ground ball pitchers like Charlie Morton are on the mound.

Jordy Mercer is expected to get the bulk of the work at shortstop this year. Mercer is an offense-first shortstop with below average defense. That gives Barmes additional value as a late inning defensive replacement. One of the needs the Pirates had going into the Winter Meetings was a backup shortstop, and this fills that need. Considering his defensive skills and the ground ball approach the Pirates have, it’s hard to think of a better option for that role.

UPDATE 12:37 PM: Buster Olney says that Barmes gets one year and $2 M.

That’s a good value. He was worth $7.3 M over the last two years, including $3.1 M last year in a role that he will probably hold again in 2014.

UPDATE 2:51 PM: Bill Brink says that Barmes could get an extra $1 M based on games played.

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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.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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Travis Gysegem

I’m not aboard the offseason panic train, but I would sleep so much better at night with knowing Loney and AJ are going to be wearing black and gold.

Bob Martin

The worst bench in the league is back. The Pirates usually have 4 spots open for them now. Two spots are now taken up by a no hit SS and C. We all know Light hitting Harrison will be back for the Third Spot. The 4th spot is the ever dangerous 4th outfielder. Neal may know how to put together a bull pen but he is dumber than a box of rocks when it comes to benchwarmers.
I hear that AJ has asked for 17m to return to the Bucs, now if that’s true why didn’t Neal know that and give him a qualifying offer? There is noway the Pirates will pay that and if he plays somewhere else we should have gotten a comp pick. The Nuttings cheapness isn’t going to allow us to ever get a pick.

Travis Gysegem

I’m looking forward to seeing Cole’s name above Barmes’ on the lineup card on days when they both start.


I think Clint did a good job on defense, and as a maybe not as good. I think it was a good move to bring him back to spell Jordy mercer and as a late inning replacement.


PieRat : maybe for normal commenters,but not for the garbage commenters

Pie Rat

I don’t know about you Buster, but I got sick of everyone fliping out everytime the Pirates lost more than 2 games in a row after the All-star break. I’m sure it wore on the players, because they commented on it. I was just saying I’m glad they got that monkey off their back.
Stats are important, but players are human. These are all factors in how well a team performs. It’s why they play the game. If it were just stats a computer could tell us who would win each game. IMO the the Pirates will play better without that pressure.

Pie Rat

It should also be a little easier to play without everyone flipping out everytime the Pirates lose 2 games in row after the All-star game.


For those (such as Babeadams) that feel we are going backwards, here is the opening day group that got us to the playoffs last year:

McKenry (now Stewart)
Jones (TBD or Lambo)
Gaby Sanchez
John McDonald (now Mercer))

At worst, thats a wash on offense, and we have the ability to add Polanco, Decker, or a trade deadline add.

Burnett (TBD or Cole)
Jonathon Sanchez (Liriano replaced him)
James McDonald (now Volquez)
Hughes (now Morris)
Leroux (now Mazzaro)

We’ll also have Morton all season, with some nice depth in the minors, Taillon, Pimentel, Cumpton, etc. The pitching looks better on paper. The point is that if you want to compare to last season, you compare to what we started with, not what we finished with. It looks to me like we are ahead of last season with plenty of time to add before the season starts.


Don’t try to reason with babe. Im not sure if he’s trolling or just needs something to complain about. Either way he clearly doesn’t want any part of your rational thought.


At worst a wash? Holy cow.

You realize that you would be using 2012 stats to evaluate the 2013 starting lineup, just as you would use the 2013 stats to evaluate the 2012 lineuo.

2012 Jones versus whomever NH gets his paws on? Downgrade.
2012 McKenry versus Stewart? Downgrade.

Beyond that it is a wash. So, two downgrades and the rest a wash. So far not a stellar looking bunch coming off a surprise playoff berth.

It is a bit underhanded of you not to count Liriano as part of the team to start, as he was just getting enough time in the minors to make sure Nutting didn’t have to pay him the extra money for being healthy. AJ is a big loss, but Cole is added. Liriano was fantastic in 2013 but Wandy wasn’t much worse in 2012. Slight advantage to 2014, but not by much.

Overall a downgrade on offense and a slight upgrade with the pitching.

Not impressed. Hope NH has something up his sleeve. Otherwise this team will need everything to go right (yet again) to stay in the hunt.


I like this. Can see Barmes starting 2-3 games a week. Will replace Walker some against lefties.


Where did all this Mercer is a bad defensive player start? He is an average SS, no where near below average, I don’t care what metric anyone uses. Check the guy out in Chicago if you really want to see a guy with talent and metrics far beyond Mercers that is nowhere near as good as Mercer.


I don’t know if you ever saw Tim Foli play SS, but he was very close to a statue that made the plays he was supposed to make, enough to get the Pirates to the World Series, in Chuck Tanners words, I will take the player that makes the plays he should make, Mercer should develop into that type of player. He can make a great play every once in a while and he might not get to a ball some other SS might get to, but he should be adequate. IMO, he will hit much like Walker and play defense much like Walker. They look like bookends to me.
Since Mercer has a label on him now, he will come under a lot wrath whenever he makes an error, the he can’t play SS crowd will be right there.
I believe Barmes is great insurance if Mercer goes down and he can be a very useful replacement at SS and 2nd base, super signing.


Leadoff – you’ve got your history wrong. Tanner’s comments were much more in reference to the departed Frank Taveras who had flashes of brilliance that were overshadowed by not making routine plays. Foli was actually a very good defender – not gold glove good – but well above average. He finished in the top 5 in the counting stats (double plays, putouts, assists) in several seasons. He also finished in the top 5 in more advanced stats (range factor, total zone runs and dWAR) in several seasons. Calling him ‘very close to a statue’ is simply incorrect.


I would have been happy with a 2 yr deal for 3.8 mil or something like that. For that cheap he will give you value for 2 more seasons. I guess they figure Hanson will be the man in 2015. Hanson’s defensive questions are even more of a reason to keep Barmes around for 2 more years.


So. Our off season has comprised of signing two of the worst offensive players in baseball in 2013 and one of the worst pitchers in baseball in 2013. AWESOME!!!

Now maybe we can add MITCH FARGING MORELAND and the offseason will be complete!!

The current 25 man roster is not as good as the one that ended the 2013 season. And it’s not close. We are so far from that point that it is hard to see what NH can do to get us there before the season starts.

And I simply cannot wait until #hurdled finds a way to give Clint Barmess 300+ at bats this year. That will be so awesome!

Apparently the key to getting back into the playoffs involves having as many automatic outs on the bench as humanly possible.


Couldn’t agree more. Barmes has to improve by 30% just to get to sucking. If his best friend didn’t push this he’d be out of baseball. No one even mention him even getting a call from anyone else. Thank you Neil I’ve been a big backer of yours. But you just saved me a lot of money on tickets. Barmas sucks


You can’t even spell Barmes.


When he learns how to hit I’ll worry about spelling his name. I guess I’m off the hook.


Fire Huntington!!!! Our backup SS and C don’t slug .500. Everyone else’s backup SS and C hit a ton and would be all stars, but for some reason they don’t start them.

When do pitchers and catchers report? It must be tomorrow from the sound of things.

You do realize they’ll get a 1B and he’ll be better than Jones was last year, even if it is Moreland (but hopefully one of the others). And they will sign AJ if he doesn’t want to retire instead, regardless of what 100 commenters say. If they sign AJ, they’re a better team than what finished last year. If they don’t, it’s close and you have to weigh Volquez and the 1B plus the contributions from Decker, Lambo, Polanco, Taillon, Pimentel, etc.

For God’s sake it’s Dec. 12. No use having a heart attack before Christmas.


If they sign AJ, how are they better than the team that finished 2013 (with Byrd)? They simply are not. If they do not sign AJ, they aren’t even close. And Decker/Lambo/Pimentel don’t help to close the gap. At all.

I’m weighing Volquez alright. Sweet mother of pearl is he terrible.

So, we all have high hopes that 2014 will be a continuation of the surprise year we had in 2013. To facilitate this, we want to see the team at least be as good as it was to end the 2013 season. So far, we have not gotten that at all.

There are SOOOOOO many question marks and things that have to break right for this team, as currently constituted, to be as good as they were last year. If we end up getting a Moreland/Smoak/whomever type to platoon at first but do not sign AJ and find noone to replace him in the rotation, I fail to see how this team can be as good as it was.

I understand that Polanco and Taillon are coming up at some point in 2014, but do you honestly think that a pennant contender should go into a season COUNTING on a pair of rookies to produce in order to help it make it there? I sure don’t. I would rather have a team for 2014 that is a pennant contender to start the year, and only gets stronger once those two come up.


Ask St. Louis if a contender should count on 2 rookies producing in order to contend. And they’re actually counting on Wong to play the whole season, while Tavares will be more like Polanco. And while you’re talking to them, ask them how they did it in 2013 with Matt Adams and seemingly half of their pitching staff as rookies.

Amazingly the Pirates had a .580 win % in 131 games without Byrd and a .580 win % in 31 games with him. So let’s not pretend they were a much better team the last month (or on the last day of the season) than they were the first 5 months.

Let’s look at the bigger picture. They got 19, 20 and 26 starts out of Cole, Morton and Liriano respectively. If they get 32 out of each of them in 2014, that more than covers AJs 30 starts from 2013. If Aj gives them those 30 starts, all the better. Wandy’s a wild card but could certainly provide more than the 12 solid starts he did last year. Locke had 30 starts of #3 stats, the roller coaster ride notwithstanding, and at 26 years old, could be a little better this year. While you write Volquez off completely, others have objectively shown that even if he doesn’t improve he’ll give you 30 starts of #4 or strong #5 production. And there’s a chance he could improve somewhat. That’s before any of the depth options and Taillon are counted.

1B and RF production should be better, if only because it could hardly be worse. Will it be Tabata, Snider, Decker, Lambo, Loney or Davis providing the upgrade? I have no idea, but obviously there are a lot of options. Marte, Cutch, Walker and Pedro are all still in their prime, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they all outperformed their 2013 OPS by 30 – 40 points. They had huge offensive holes for most of the season in RF and 1B, and half the year at SS, but were right at league avg in runs scored. And really nobody else outperformed their expectations much, if at all.

Do a lot of things need to break right for the Bucs to win 94 games again? Absolutely, and I’m on record as not expecting it again. But that is the case whether they signed Cano and Beltran too. I think it’s fair to say any team that wins 94 games had a lot of things go their way. But the Bucs are still in position to do that well in 2014, and as importantly, in 2015 – 2018 as well because they haven’t done anything stupid.


I agree this team as currently constituted would need a lot to go right to win 87 games. Do you agree there are 2 months of the off season remaining?

AJ went 4-2 after Byrd was acquired, with 4 quality starts and 2 bad ones. Yes Locke was a mess in 2 of his 4 starts. But why do you refuse to acknowledge the first 5 months this team played so well and only focus on the fact that they lost one guy that gave them 107 good ABs and may lose a guy that gave them 30 good starts? The sky is not falling.


They have also spent $8 mil on absolute garbage in Stewart/Barmessss/Volquez. Maybe give those three spots to cheap younger major league minimum players (who could do just as good at a minimum), and use that money to sign AJ. Or somebody.

I think you are expecting a lot to break right for this team, as currently constituted, to win anywhere near 87 games next year.

And it is difficult to fathom that you are using their win% to back your claim that they were just as good before getting Byrd as they were thereafter. You may remember some other issues going on while he was here. AJ pitching much worse than he had been. Locke completely releaving his bowels on the bed, etc. Their win% after Byrd was acquird is a horrible way to make your point. Maybe it would have been .480 had they not acquired him!!


This team won 94 games last year without Byrd and Burnett down for a month, they used somewhere around 12 starting pitchers. Alvarez is just coming into his own, Marte should be better, McCutchen should be better, the backup catching is better, the starting pitching could be better with Cole here all year and Taillon on the way, the starting 5 out of ST last year ended up only having 2 left at the end of the year and not many of their starting pitchers pitched past the 7th inning. So I would say that if you compare the start of last year with the start of this year, my money says the Pirates will be much better and in 2015 they will be even better.
The nucleus of this team and the farm is what will carry the day, not one pitcher that they may or may not have.


Lots of shoulds and coulds there. Too many for my liking. I want the Pirates to make the 2014 team a contender from day one. They had a lot go right for them in 2014. Counting on all of that to happen again AND a bunch of other things to go right may be asking too much. I’m sorry. It is asking too much. I expected them to make the 2014 team a contender from day one. Not “well, when Taillon and Polanco come up we hope…”.

Oh well. Again, hopefully NH has something other than the obligatory first base platoon aquisition up his sleeve.


Not about Barmes but I have a question. Can someone help? I thought the Astros only paid on the Rodriguez original contract. Are they also helping on the 14 million player option year as well? I have heard both ways. Help Please


Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall the trade from Houston automatically raising the player option from 12 million to 14 million. Is my memory accurate?


Thanks. I thought it probably included the option year also.


I still think we should go Barmes and Mercer in the middle against lefties, but alas it won’t happen.

dr dng

I absolutely agree with you.

Puts Walker on the bench waiting for a
right handed relief pitcher.

Nice player to come off the bench
once in a while.


Good move overall. Hopefully he will be able to spend more time with Mercer helping him out.


Hard to hate this. He’s not the best defensive shortstop in baseball but he’s one of the best. Andrelton Simmons is the best defender by far, but we don’t have him nor do we have anyone close to him…so Barmes will/should start once every 5 days (Morton’s days) and be a late-inning defensive replacement. I am fine with that.

Cato the Elder

I agree completely with your assessment. Barmes fills a nice role with this team and now that his pay is commensurate with that role the only complaints I hear are the residue from being putatively overpaid these last couple of years.

Dean Manifest

I like it a lot. Mercer is no guarantee. He’s offensive pedigree and first season numbers look a lot like Alex Presley and Jose Tabata when they came up. We all know how year two went for them.

Barmes’s defense can be counted on, and I have no problem letting him split the playing time until Jordy plays himself into or out of the job.

FWIW I’d go get Loney at this point. We’ve got the ground ball pitchers locked in, now lets finish off a very good infield defense.


Not a bad signing for the Bucs…really wish we would have this person in our system coming up!

Fangraphs top 10 Twins Prospects

#2 Miguel Sano | 65/AA (3B)
20 519 123 30 35 65 142 11 .280 .382 .610 .435
The Year in Review: How do you follow up on a season where you hit 28 home runs as a 19 year old? You hit 35 dingers at the age of 20. Sano, a Dominican native, split 2013 between High-A and Double-A and definitely faced a stiffer challenge at the higher level. After posting a 1.079 OPS with a .330 batting average in High-A, the third baseman managed a .915 OPS but hit just .236 in Double-A. The main culprits behind his struggles were the increase in strikeouts (25% to almost 30%) and the dip in his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) from .397 to .265.

The Scouting Report: Sano has perhaps the most potent power potential in the minors with his tool grade coming in at 75-80. In typical slugger fashion he also walks a lot but swings and misses with regularity. Because of those whiffs, he’ll probably never hit for a great batting average but could sit somewhere in the .250-.270 range, which should still allow him to produce strong on-base percentages. Defensively, his bat and plus-plus arm give enough reason for him to remain at the hot corner but his range is likely to diminish as he ages and his actions are stiff.

The Year Ahead: Sano struggled with Double-A pitching in 67 games but a strong spring could push him to Triple-A, one step away from The Show. Trevor Plouffe’s days as a starting big league third baseman could be over in a Plou?ffe of smoke before the summer is over. One wrinkle to that plan, though, could be a lingering elbow injury. Some unsubstantiated rumors have suggested Tommy John surgery could be a possibility, which would cause him to miss a large chunk of the season.

The Career Outlook: There are some questions about Sano’s true age (and understandably so, if you’ve seen him) but even if he’s closer to 24 or 25 he should have a strong future as a middle-of-the-order slugger. He could threaten the 40-home run plateau in the Majors during his prime.


You need to see Sano attempt to perform at 3d base. Think of the worst 3dbaseman you can recall…..”


Can’t cry over spilt milk. There are so many missed chances not only for the Bucs (Mike Trout for only one) . How many teams are saying ” damn we could have had Liriano”. You can’t dwell on lost opportunities you can only move forward and realize in the future these same things are going to happen again to every team.


What does a scouting report about Sano have to do with barmes?


Nothing. I just read the scouting report right after I read the Barmes article and posted it.


Boy it would have been nice to have been the one with Sano, huh?


Would have been great. You can see how it could have worked out:

– A short term 1st baseman this coming year, Pedro moving across the diamond to first the year after. Two sluggers at the corners, Polonco in right, Cutch and Marte in the outfield, Walker at second and Sanchez behind the plate. Cole and Tallion leading the pitching staff with Morton as the # 3 – at best- with more pitchers off the farm and a typical NH bullpen.

That’s a team that could compete for a while and wouldn’t cost much money.


I would rather have gone for John McDonald like player for less money than $2 million for Clint Barmes whose only value comes from defense.

I doubt if his offense is going to even match what he did last year and would not be surprised if his defense slips a little. Would have been nice (and it still could happen) to get somebody who could replace Pedro against some lefties in 2014.

Maybe he can hit lefties in 2014 like he did in 2012. I can see the value of having him at short when Morton is pitching but other than that the less he plays the better the team will be.


Tim Williams should ban you from making anymore comments after suggesting a John McDonald return to Pittsburgh…ESPECIALLY over Clint


well as Tim pointed out in article the Bucs overpaid for Clint’s production the past 2 years. He should have gotten a non-roster invite to spring training rather than a $2million deal. I do think Clint does hustle and tries his best all the time. He did play his best in August and September too. But I think the most that can realistically be expected from him is above average glove and way below average offense. We are holding out longer to fill gap at first so I don’t see the rush to fill the utility infielder spot.

Cato the Elder

I suppose “over the last three years, he has graded as the best defensive shortstop in the majors” is as you say, “[an] above average glove.”


john mcdonald was cut by two teams last year including us


He was also signed by 3 teams, including the WS champions…


Great, now Hurdle can come with lots of excuses in his own head to play Barmes way too much. If it wasn’t for Hurdle, the move would make sense. Personally, I would rather take a chance on a young guy with upside as the backup, instead of an old guy on a slippery downhill slope(especially for shortstops). I guess NH couldn’t find the young guy.


Drew never was going to be on the radar. He has to be one of the most overpaid players in MLB and would’ve required us to forfeit our first round draft pick


Get out of the basement and get some fresh air……. It was a FREAKING JOKE.


The only ” garbage ” I see on this site Babe are folks like you. Calling any one a name like that makes me sick. You couldn’t even carry the glove of the worst performing player in MLB.what a clown.



Pie Rat

Buster09 seems to be really uptight


With this signing only one member of last year’s leadership council is missing…


I guess this means Drew is off the radar. 🙂


I wasn’t serious hence the smiley face, jeez


i dont think he ever was on it

Pie Rat

Who do they have to move off the 40 man roster? They probably wanted to wait until the rule 5 draft was over before bringing him back.

Stephen Brooks

Andy Oliver is almost certainly gone. Jerry Sands shouldn’t feel too comfortable either.

After that, it starts getting tough. Best guess would be Reid and/or they would trade one of 8 the ML RPs who are out of options (since they can only carry 7).


I love the bullpen ability of NH. NH gets the job done there, but the bench is always full of sub par .200 hitters coming of the bench when we need a big hit. Sorry, NH, you don’t know how to create a hitting bench that can come through in the clutch. Every year we see these old timers on the bench that can not hit their weight. Our pinch hitters just stink every year.


The bench now has two aging useless hitters at backup catcher(assuming Sanchez doesn’t get the job) and SS. Now we only have a couple of spots for any offense…..


bench roles are usually for defense anyhow… if your good enough to hit you can start for any team

Cato the Elder

Right. And how many pinch hit at-bats are we even talking about? – 20? -40? 100? Even if we are talking about an extreme difference between a .200 and .300 hitter that’s the difference of 2/4/10 hits respectively over the course of an entire season. And it’s not like we won’t have a couple of at-bats ahead of Barmes. And while the merits of such a policy are debatable, bac up catchers are never used in pinch hitting situations, so a weak hitting backup catcher is really beside the point re pinch hitting.


Thats a really dumb statement when you have players you are platooning cause they can’t hit lefties or righties. Signing Barmes is an awful idea……just wait and see


I still like Chavez for the bench role.


Yes…but there were occasions where Barmes had to pinch-hit late in games because he was the last bat standing. At some point, you need to have at least on bat-first guy on the bench.


Glad to have him back. An important player with the Pirates’ defensive approach.


This is a great situation–Barmes comes back knowing his role and we gain insurance should Mercer struggle. I expect a solid year from Barmes given that all the pressure of a big contract is gone. He’s now signed for a role that he’s more than capable of filling.

It also speaks to the type of person Barmes is (how many players would refuse to come back after being benched?) and how Hurdle must have handled that situation.


Great news there. Hopefully hurdle uses as a backup like in the second half of the season; starting him with ground chuck and getting him in the game late as a defensive replacement.

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