Pirates Sign Clint Barmes

The Pirates found their new shortstop, as they officially signed Clint Barmes to a two-year deal today.  The contract is worth $10.5MM, Barmes confirmed to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.  MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch notes that with a $5MM salary in 2012, Barmes will be the Pirates' highest-paid player.  

Barmes, 32, hit .244/.312/.386 in 495 plate appearances for the Astros this year while playing above-average defense at shortstop.  Barmes replaces Ronny Cedeno as the Pirates' starting shortstop and reunites with former manager Clint Hurdle.  The Pirates' press release cites Barmes' UZR heavily, with GM Neal Huntington adding, "With the signing of Clint Barmes, we have added an above average defensive shortstop who will bring quality experience and reliability to the club on the playing field as well as a positive veteran presence in the clubhouse."  

Middle infielders have been surprisingly well-compensated this offseason, with Aaron Hill, Mark Ellis, and Omar Infante also receiving two-year deals despite lackluster offensive years.   

Since Barmes was a Type B free agent, the Astros will receive a supplemental draft pick for their loss.  "We'll have to explore different options to find a front-line shortstop or someone to share time with [Angel] Sanchez," Astros GM Ed Wade told McTaggart.

McTaggart says Barmes talked to the Brewers about a possible two-year deal, but they weren't willing to make an offer until Prince Fielder's situation was resolved.  Barmes said on a conference call today that he didn't receive many other concrete offers, and the Pirates' guarantee of two years was a big factor.

5,020 people entered MLBTR's free agent prediction contest earlier this month, and three contestants are batting 1.000 after four of our top 50 free agents signed.

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