The Pirates are supposedly close to signing Clint Barmes to a two year deal worth a total of 10.5 million dollars. On its surface this looks like a very solid move. Barmes appears to be about a league average offensive shortstop and from what I can gather he is rather good with the glove. There is a very good argument that Barmes was the 3rd best free agent shortstop this off-season. This is actually something I am rather happy to see. The Pirates are being aggressive and going after the players they have chose to target. Barmes and Barajas aren’t top tier free agents by any means but they aren’t bottom of the barrel either.
I believe as a general consensus Pirate fans believe Barmes is an upgrade over Cedeno but some are having a problem with the amount Barmes is being paid. It is true that just by comparing salaries to production that Cedeno or even Ramon Santiago might have been a better option. However should that really be a deciding factor? The bottom line is the Pirates got one of the best shortstops available on the market and while yes they might have overpaid, why should fans care? It is not their money being spent. Yes I know fans pay players salaries but the price of a ticket is already set next year so whether Barmes gets 2.5 or 5.5 million a fan is going to pay the same amount.
The only reason Barmes salary should be viewed in a negative light is if affects the ability of the Pirates to achieve their other off-season priorities. Those include signing a first baseman and a starting pitcher but more importantly than those two is getting Andrew McCutchen signed to a long term deal. If this contract would in anyway impede the Pirates ability to get those goals accomplished it should indeed be viewed as a negative move however we have no evidence that this will do that. The Pirates have claimed they have money to spend this off-season and as of now we have no reason not to believe them. They have already filled two pressing needs by acting early and dishing out over 9 million dollars. From all the estimates I have seen this means they still should have about 12-15 million to spend. Fitting those 3 priorities into that budget should be doable.
The potential signing of Clint Barmes is nothing to get overly excited about (same goes for Barajas) but the fact is that the team will be better with Barmes than without him. And really isn’t that all us Pirate fans should care about?