First I want to touch on the protections the Pirates made for the Rule 5 draft Friday night. The Pirates added Matt Hague, Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer, Rudy Owens, Duke Welker, and Justin Wilson to the 40 man roster while designating for assignment Eric Fryer and Xavier Paul.
Overall nothing surprising except the idea that they dfa’d Eric Fryer. Although he wasn’t too spectacular with the Pirates in a short stint last year that was after a very brief time at AAA Indianapolis. The Pirates are pretty “meh” at best at catcher and from what we know Fryer is a very good defensive catcher that has some ability with the bat. This could all be for not if nobody claims him but you know how that goes, someone could. Xavier Paul is just a guy that you can pretty much find at any 7-11. Whatever.
If you want to read more about this stuff on the guys the Pirates protected take a look at Pirates Prospects. Tim always does an amazing job and he should be your first stop for Pirates information.
Now onto the bigger news, the Pirates signing Clint Barmes to a two year deal worth $10.5M
|162 Game Avg.||162||618||563||70||142||32||3||15||67||9||5||34||100||.252||.302||.401||.703||78||226||8|
|COL (8 yrs)||665||2509||2291||292||582||131||15||61||285||39||25||125||397||.254||.300||.404||.704||75||926||29|
|HOU (1 yr)||123||495||446||47||109||27||0||12||39||3||1||38||88||.244||.312||.386||.698||93||172||9|
Outside of Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins Barmes was probably the top short stop on the market. It is no secret that I wasn’t a fan of letting go of Ronny Cedeno and not picking up his option year for $3M but I think this actually might be a little better for the Pirates. Barmes is a pretty solid defender which had a UZR of 7.9 last season which is fifth among qualified MLB short stops while having a UZR/150 of 10.8. For comparison Ronny Cedeno had a UZR of 5.9 last season and a UZR/150 of 6.8. In the last three seasons Barmes has a UZR of 15.2 which ranks 9th in baseball and his UZR/150 of 13.5 ranks second in the league.
Cedeno has a really solid season in the field last year but his bat left some to be desired with a .249/.297/.339 line with a .271 wOBA and a 1.4 WAR. Last season Barmes rolled out a .244/.312/.386 line with a wOBA of .308 and a 3.1 WAR. Barmes bring a little more to the table offensively with 12 home runs and has a better strikeout rate (17.8%) and better ISO (.141).
I am not going to sit here and say that this is the answer to the short stop problem that the Pirates have had in the past but I think it will be an upgrade over what the Pirates had in Cedeno. There are a few reasons why I think Barmes is in Pittsburgh. For one he wants to be a full time short stop and Pittsburgh is going to be able to give him that option and Barmes spent a lot of time with Hurdle in Colorado and I am sure that was a driving force.
I think this will go over a lot better than the Rod Barajas signing and overall I think that the Pirates have upgraded in both spots so far this season. Call me an optimist but there could be a lot worse.
There are a lot of unknowns about this. Some people are going to refer to the 23 home run year that Barmes had in 2009 but that seems to be more of an outlier than anything, but he still is going to have more home run potential than Ronny Cedeno did. Barmes also played a majority of his career in hitter friendly fields in Colorado and Houston and that is the last thing PNC Park is. That could be a rough transition for his offensive numbers but he should still be pretty stout defensively.
The terms of the deal are for $10.5M and to be honest I think that is a little much for what Barmes might be able to give the Pirates but I don’t think it is outrageous by any means. You might say that the Pirates could have had Cedeno for $3M which is true but would you be OK spending that much money on 2009 or 2010 Cedeno? This will also give the Pirates Barmes when he is 33 and 34 years old. Not exactly prime age so hopefully they can figure out the long term situation at short stop which is a complete mess as of right now.
Overall I like the deal. Hopefully it works out for the Pirates because they could really use a good FA signing.