The Pittsburgh Pirates closed their deal with free agent shortstop Clint Barmes, signing him to a two-year contract through the 2013 season, the club announced via Twitter. The deal is said to be $10.5 million over two-years; nearly the same as what second baseman Aaron Hill received from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Barmes, 32, hit .244/.312/.386 in 495 plate appearances last season for the Houston Astros. Looking at advanced hitting statistics, such as wOBA (weight on base average) and wRC+ (weighted runs created plus), Barmes ranked as a below-average offensive player. However, there aren't many players better defensively at shortstop than Barmes, which gives him the extra boost of value most players won't ever get.
The Pirates will receive a lot of criticism for this deal, rightfully so, but the signing isn't all bad. Of the shortstop free agent class, Barmes 3.1 WAR only ranked behind Jose Reyes (6.2) and Jimmy Rollins (3.8). If he can even sniff league-average offensively while continuing to be an elite defender at shortstop, I can swallow this deal. Don't get me wrong though, if I was Pirates GM, I would have just held onto Ronny Cedeno for another year.