The Pirates re-upped SS Clint Barmes today to a 1 year, $2 million contract. This is a significantly lower salary than Barmes earned last year indicating the Pirates plan a lesser role for him in 2014. You can look at the signing two ways:
1) Clint Barmes is very solid defensively. His 14.2 UZR/150 last season was second only to Andrelton Simmons for SS that played more than 500 innings. When extreme ground ball pitcher Charlie Morton is on the mound Barmes should be the starting SS. He can also come off the bench as a late inning replacement. His defense alone makes this a good value signing. If Barmes has even a slight improvement to his offensive numbers in 2014 it would be gravy.
2) On the other side of the coin, a $2 million binky for the manager is a huge overpay. I’ve priced binkies at Babies R’ Us. You can get a pack of 2 for $5. Perhaps the weakest attribute of manager Clint Hurdle is how he deploys his bench. The number of times Hurdle penciled Barmes into the starting lineup only to lift him in the 7th inning for offense was maddening. Hurdle was constantly wasting a precious pinch hitter on a position player while also weakening his defense in the final innings. Just start Jordy Mercer, save your bench, and bring Barmes in to play defense in the 8th or 9th. If Hurdle misuses Barmes as he did at times last year this signing can swing from good to bad.