Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bucs On Barmes?

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Bucs are the frontrunner in the Clint Barmes sweepstakes. Barmes, who played for the Rockies under Clint Hurdle and then moved on to the Astros, is considered a strong & steady infielder with a little pop in his stick. He's looking for a starting gig with a two year deal in the $8-10M range, although SI's Jon Heyman hears it will be 2 years/$11M.

Barmes is a lifetime .252 hitter and can knock a dozen or so balls out of the yard every season. His UZR/150 for 2011 was an excellent 10.8, and it's at 7.2 for his career. He had a career high 3.1 WAR in 2011, and it looks like it's about to pay off for him.

If the FO lands him, it's been a nice job for them in the early days of the hot stove season. Zeroing in on Rod Barajas and Barmes, both toward the top of second-tier free agents at their position this year, should help the team defensively and give them a couple of guys that are at least a threat to go long.

Having said that, the Pirates haven't improved noticeably. Barajas is basically a Chris Snyder clone and Barmes is a less frustrating model of Cedeno.

Both are placeholders until the Bucco farm produces an everyday player, currently hoped to be Chase d'Arnaud and Tony Sanchez. But in a year when the free agent market is thin, they did well to tread water and not lose ground, even if they overpaid (maybe to keep the Player's Association at bay, maybe just to overcome the Pirate stigma, or maybe knowing what it would take to land their man against the competition).

They are still trawling the pitching waters, and crossing their fingers that a first baseman falls into their lap without breaking the bank. But until they bring in a top-of-the-rotation pitcher and a couple of mid order bats, they're not building but just buying time.


WilliamJPellas said...

Yeah, but with respect, Ron, both of these guys are far, far better than the players they are replacing. Perhaps not in terms of their objective athletic ability, but in terms of their reliability and consistency.

I agree that both are more placeholders than they are anything else, but I for one am quite happy to see at least a modest effort being made at putting a halfway watchable team on the field while the presumed rebuild (supposedly) takes root. In my mind, there was no excuse---none, zero---for 400 losses in 4 years. I don't care how bare the cupboard supposedly was, there was no call and no excuse for letting the here-and-now Pirates get historically, all-time horrible. Spending this kind of money on, as you put it, guys near the top of the second-tier free agent class is what the Pirates should be doing every year. Seriously, every year. They can afford to do that. I know they won't get the big boys and I have no problem with that. But they can and should get help-you-right-now reinforcements like Barajas and Barmes and Correia.

Ron Ieraci said...

Will, I agree that fishing in the second-level waters is something they should have been doing. To see them identify players and go after them aggressively is quite a change from the usual MO, Matt Diaz not withstanding, lol! Who could have foreseen that coming?

But I can't get too excited over Barajas and Barmes. They are, to use the Bucco jargon, accountable players and that's a plus. I will admit that it beats the heck out of watching Chase d'Arnaud and Mike McKenry in the lineup every day.

They'll probably wait out first base if they don't like the Garrett Jones - Matt Hague platoon to see what happens with the new CBA and where the Big Two fall; that could free up other players.

Will they look for a RH OF bat or go with Gorkys Hernandez? And the pitching market has a couple of interesting names, so we'll see how they move in that area.

Are there any trades in the offing? Lots to yet look forward to during this off season.

And boy, would it help if Pedro can bounce back and have something like a .260/20/75 year.

Dewey may not be able to catch a cold, but he could hit a ball, and Alvarez is easily the best shot at replacing Doumit's offense.

WilliamJPellas said...

Well, Dewey could hit a ball on the rare occasions when he was actually on the field. Sorry, it's just too frustrating dealing with his never-ending parade of injuries. I'd rather have a reliably average player than a more talented one like Doumit (at least with the bat) who just can't be counted on. Ditto Barmes versus Cedeno, though Barmes is better than Cedeno across the board as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps not a night and day difference, but very definitely a better player and a legitimate starting major league shortstop---something Cedeno very definitely is not.

A Jones - Hague platoon might not be too bad, all things considered. Reading between the lines it looks like the front office would really like to move on from Jones (as I would) but that may not be possible given where things stand in the marketplace and in the Pirates' organization at the moment. Jones is fun to watch during his two or three 50-at-bat hot streaks per season, but yoi and double yoi, is he painful to watch over the other 250 at bats. He's absolutely brutal when he's not locked in. Maybe they'd consider bringing in a lefthanded hitting first baseman to platoon with Hague and cut ties with Jones entirely? Dunno who's out there this offseason, though, so I'm just thinking out loud here.

Ron Ieraci said...

I'm not that down on Jones, Will. If they could just accept that he's a platoon guy, he'd be servicable. Plus the team really can use someone that can clear a fence on the fly.

The only 1bman I really like is Cuddyer, and they won't pay for him. If we take Pena, it's just another bad OBP and high strikeout bat added to a lineup with too many of those already. I say let Jones and Hague have the job, unless Gaby Sanchez pops free if Sir Albert heads south.

I'm hoping your right about B&B; I can't work up much enthusiasm other than they about the best that could be gotten in this market.