It’s really not much of a surprise that the Pittsburgh Pirates re-signed infielder Clint Barmes. Regardless, it’s still a solid signing that is important for the outlook of the 2014 roster.
The 34-year-old isn’t a major threat at the plate. With that being said, he has flashes where he puts in a great effort and makes a difference for the ball club.
The fact is Pittsburgh mostly re-signed him for his versatility on defense. Barmes is capable of playing every single position in the infield and also has a little experience in the outfield.
More importantly, he’s an outstanding defensive player at shortstop, which is where he sees plenty of groundballs come his way. Considering the Pirates have gone for more of a ground-ball pitching staff, it’s important to have infielders with great hands. Make no mistake about it, Barmes’ 1.6 wins above replacement over the past two years is a big reason why Pittsburgh’s pitching staff has been improved.
The reality is the Pirates wanted Barmes back on a cheap contract to platoon with Jordy Mercer at shortstop. The two players formed a great combination at the position last season and Pittsburgh wants to keep it on a roll next year.
There’s really no reason to change the roster too much since the Pirates had so much success last season. The first postseason berth since 1992 is a very big deal. For that reason, slight upgrades at various positions are key. It’s also important to keep the roster that provided success intact.