Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pirates Bring Back Clint Barmes

The Pirates today brought back shortstop Clint Barmes to play shortstop in some capacity in the 2013 season. The deal is one year for $2M.

This (probably) isn't going to be overly popular but for the terms of the contract makes this a no-brainer for the Pirates. Now, this isn't to bring back Barmes as a starter, earlier this week Jordy Mercer was given the starting spot but every team needs a backup and for as much as the Pirates rely on their defense they did a nice job of bringing back one of the best defensive shortstop in the game.

Offensively Barmes was pretty bad last year. Actually he was even worse last year than he was in 2012 which I thought was just about impossible but he proved me wrong hitting .211/.249/.309 and had a 63 wRC+ (100 is league average) in 330 plate appearances.

Despite the horrific offense he still posted a 0.6 fWAR which was solely thanks to his outstanding defense. Despite only playing 804.1 defensive innings he was tied for second in the league with a +12 defensive runs saved which only trailed Andrelton Simmons who did things at shortstop that might not be done for some time.

The Pirates were the only pitching staff in baseball to have a ground ball rate of over 50% and they blew that out of the water with a 52.5% rate. It is no secret that the Pirates relied heavily on their defense to turn batted balls into outs and Barmes was a massive part of that when he was on the field.

Now, this could be bad if Clint Hurdle thinks Barmes could start every day but for the abilities he brings with the glove you have to assume he is going to be a pretty valuable asset for late game defensive substitutions and getting a couple starts a week. Nothing wrong with that because someone is going to have to play shortstop besides Mercer and for a fraction of the cost as the last two season I think this turns out to be a really good deal.

People aren't going to like it but this was a nice move that I anticipate being well worth it in 2014.

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