Clint Barmes Signs Two Year Deal With Pirates

Photo Credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images

After days of speculation, it’s official:  Clint Barmes and the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a deal.  The free agent, who spent parts of eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies and was the Houston Astros’ shortstop in 2011, signed with the Bucs for 2 years, $10.5 million.  Rumors spread throughout the morning, and they were later confirmed by the Bucs’ reporter Jenifer Langosch.
The Barmes signing obviously lays to rest any thoughts of Rafael Furcal or Ramon Santiago coming to Pittsburgh.  Even though there were rumors stating such, I personally still am not convinced that Furcal was ever a serious option for the Pirates.  He’s much more offensive-minded than defensive, and he would have wanted more money than the Pirates would be willing to offer.  Further, he is a little older and has just won a World Series, so one would have to wonder his interest level in coming to Pittsburgh.
Today’s deal also eliminates the possibility of the Pirates re-negotiating a deal to bring Ronny Cedeno, whose option the team decided not to exercise after this past year, back for another season.  Backup options for the Bucs include Chase d’Arnaud and Pedro Ciriaco, as well as Josh Harrison, who can survive as a reserve at third and even second base as well.
So how much of an upgrade is Clint Barmes over Ronny Cedeno, if at all?  First of all, there is sure to be a much better relationship between player and manager, as Barmes and Clint Hurdle were together in Colorado.  Cedeno and Hurdle never really seemed to get along all that well, and with certain antics and hustle-less players displayed by Ronny on multiple occasions in 2011, it’s not shocking that the Pirates replaced him when given the opportunity to do so. 
For the most part, this doesn’t necessarily seem to be a huge upgrade for the Pirates.  Clearly, the team believes that they are getting a better player in Barmes at $10.5 million over 2 years in comparison to the $3 million option they denied on Cedeno, but based upon the on-the-field production, arguments could be made for either player.
Cedeno is four years younger than the 32-year old Barmes, but Ronny has been wildly inconsistent since coming to Pittsburgh in the Jack Wilson deal with Seattle.  Barmes is a career .252 hitter as opposed to Cedeno’s .246, while Ronny was one of the top-rated defensive shortstops in the National League in 2011.  Their numbers this past season were pretty identical, with the exception of homeruns (Barmes’ 12 vs. Cedeno’s 2). 
Barmes:  .244 average, 27 doubles, 39 RBI’s, 47 runs scored, .312 on-base %
Cedeno:  .249 average, 25 doubles, 32 RBI’s, 43 runs scored, .297 on-base %
From an offensive standpoint, power seems to be in favor of Barmes, as Cedeno has never hit more than 10 homeruns in a season.  Clint, on the other hand, has done so four times, including a 23 round-ball campaign in 2009 with Colorado.  While Ronny has eclipsed 40 RBI’s only once in a season, Barmes has done so four times. 
The huge question is, though, whether or not Barmes’ age will play a factor.  At 32 years old, he’s actually more likely to get worse on offense and defense than he is to get better.  Following that line of thinking, it’s bizarre that the Pirates were willing to fork over $10.5 million while objecting to exercise Cedeno’s $3 million option.
With the Barmes signing, the Pirates have added another piece to the puzzle this offseason, having already inked catcher Rod Barajas to a deal.  The attention now shifts to first base as well as the starting pitching rotation to see what changes and upgrades the team will make in preparation for the 2012 season.
As always, stay tuned to Fans From The Stands for the latest reactions to the Pirates’ news and rumors.
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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