Oct 3, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes (12) commits a throwing error as he attempts to turn a double play over St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese (23) in the fifth inning in game one of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Pirates 9-1. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates re-sign shortstop Clint Barmes to one-year deal


Oct 6, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes fields a ground ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in game three of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

One of the needs that Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington had to fill at the 2013 Winter Meetings was the need for a defensive-minded shortstop.

He accomplished that goal by bring back a familiar face in veteran Clint Barmes.

ESPN’s Buster Olney was the first to report that Barmes was nearing a return to Pittsburgh, but the news was also confirmed by Jon Heyman and Dayn Perry of CBS Sports.

Barmes will make far less than the two-year, $11-million deal he inked the first time around as he will be returning on a one-year contract worth $2 million.

Due to his offensive woes, Barmes became the whipping boy of most Pirates fans, but given the team’s need for a strong glove guy up the middle, he was a logical player to bring back.

Barmes, who turns 35 in March, batted just .211/.249/.309 last year, but still grades out as a tremendous defender. That was the need here and Barmes fills it as well as anyone else the Pirates could have gotten in free agency.

With a team-wide approach as a pitching staff to get ground balls, the Bucs became the most grounder-inclined pitching staff in all of baseball last season. That approach won’t change in 2014, so Barmes has a lot of value to this current Pirates team.

Considering the fact that Barmes posted a +14.2 UZR/150 and +12 Defensive Runs Saved in just over 800 innings at the position, his contract is very team friendly for what he brings defensively.

Another thing that can’t go overlooked is what Barmes brings to the Pirates clubhouse. Despite his offensive deficiencies, Barmes is a leader and having him around for another season can only help youngster Jordy Mercer.

Barmes worked closely with Mercer last season and the results showed. Mercer is the far superior offensive player, but doesn’t come close to measuring up to Barmes right now as a defensive shortstop.

The youngster Mercer will likely open the season as the Pirates starter, but having Barmes’ glove in there late in games will turn into a luxury for Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

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  • scott stevens

    Yep, lets not spend any of the documented extra cash Nuttings baggin this year.Do you have inside info that the team can’t afford players that would actually help the team? Perhaps your there accountant or do you like many beleive the crying the blues spin that they feed the fans. Wasn’t it a few years back when they cried poverty only to find them swimming in profits when the books got exposed. Being a fan I want to see my team put the best product on the field, we supported this franchise for years and last year set attendance records. What do we get in return, a washed up pitcher, and a roster that is so much weaker than the last years. Time to step up Nutting or will the apologists back him and we revert to our many years of being the laughing stock of baseball.

    • Matt Gajtka

      No matter what we may think about their capability to spend, it’s pretty clear their budget hasn’t risen too much from last year.

  • Tj Streib

    Have Barmass & Hurdle set a date for the wedding yet??

  • Joe Nastasi

    If the pirates plan is to have the worst bench in baseball. Mission accomplished!!! I can’t stand the site of that Sissy off balanced, horrible fundamental jump throw in the dirt.

    • Matt Gajtka

      I can probably count the number of bad throws he’s made with the Pirates on two hands. It’s unorthodox, but it works. Plus, he gets to a lot of grounders. If you’re going to criticize Barmes’ offense, go right ahead.

      • Joe Nastasi

        Unorthodox/horrible fundamentals same results. Hurdle talks about bench players having to have position flexibility. He has none. He can’t PH, PR or play multiple positions. People say play him at short & move mercer to 2nd against lefties. Walker may not hit them well he’s still better then barmes. He has well below avg speed for SS in the league so his range can’t be above avg. His arm strength isn’t bad but not great. Everyone says need an upgrade at short. If you need an upgrade then don’t bring back the one you needed an upgrade from.