Clint Barmes Rumors
The Pirates will try to re-sign pitcher A.J. Burnett, outfielder Marlon Byrd and shortstop Clint Barmes, and they may extend Burnett a qualifying offer, MLB.com's Tom Singer reports. Burnett is still deciding between playing for the Pirates for one more year and retiring, but Singer suggests that the most likely route is that Burnett will accept their qualifying offer. Since Burnett has already said he wants to retire as a Pirate, the Bucs do not need to worry much about their five-day exclusive negotiating period, except in the sense that whether or not they re-sign Burnett will have a significant impact on the rest of their offseason plans.
Byrd, who arrived via an August trade with the Mets, would continue to serve as the Pirates' right fielder if he were to re-sign. If he does not, the bulk of the playing time will likely go to Jose Tabata, with prospects Andrew Lambo and Gregory Polanco behind him. After posting a .291/.336/.511 season in 2013, Byrd will likely be in line for a multiyear deal, even at age 36.
Barmes made $5.5MM in the second year of his two-year deal with the Bucs in 2013. He hit poorly in both seasons and lost his starting shortstop job to Jordy Mercer, but he still has value due to his strong defense. If the Pirates retain him, it would likely be on a cheap one-year deal to back up Mercer.
The Bucs will try to negotiate with Byrd and Barmes before the bidding opens to other teams, Singer reports. He also notes that the Pirates are unlikely to re-sign first baseman Justin Morneau, catcher John Buck, or pitchers Jeff Karstens or Kyle Farnsworth.
10 National League teams have free agent arbitration offer decisions to make today, and we'll update them in this post in advance of the 11pm central time deadline. For a fantastic customizable chart with all 57 Type A/B free agents and their teams' decisions in real-time, click here.
Updated team decisions:
- The Giants won't offer arbitration to Pat Burrell (B) or Cody Ross (B) according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). Carlos Beltran (A) contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Dodgers declined to offer Hiroki Kuroda (B) arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter). Rod Barajas (B) already signed with the Pirates.
- The Pirates offered arbitration to Derrek Lee (B) while declining to offer Ryan Ludwick (B) and Chris Snyder (B) arbitration. Ryan Doumit (B) already signed with the Twins.
- The Phillies did not offer Roy Oswalt (A) or Brad Lidge (B) arbitration, according to the AP (via ESPN). The team announced that it offered arbitration to Raul Ibanez (B), Ryan Madson (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick), and Jimmy Rollins (A), according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Cubs offered arbitration to Carlos Pena (B) and Aramis Ramirez (B) but not to Kerry Wood (B), according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).
- The Cardinals offered Edwin Jackson (B) and Albert Pujols (A) arbitration, but declined to make offers to Rafael Furcal (B) and Arthur Rhodes (B), according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). That leaves Octavio Dotel (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary).
- The Mets offered Jose Reyes (A) arbitration, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (on Twitter).
- The Padres will offer arbitration to Heath Bell (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) and Aaron Harang (B), tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
- The Brewers offered Prince Fielder (A) and Francisco Rodriguez (A, will not cost signing team a draft pick) arbitration. They declined to offer Yuniesky Betancourt (B) arbitration. Takashi Saito (A), contractually cannot be offered arbitration.
- The Braves did not offer arbitration to Alex Gonzalez (B), according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Teams with automatic decisions only:
- Reds: Francisco Cordero (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary), Ramon Hernandez (modified B, no arbitration offer necessary)
- Astros: Clint Barmes (B, already signed with Pirates)
- Rockies: Mark Ellis (B, already signed with Dodgers)
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."
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.
8:03pm: Heyman tweets that it will be a two-year contract worth $10.5MM. The two sides are just putting the finishing touches on the deal.
2:36pm: The deal is expected to be worth roughly $11MM over two years once completed, Jon Heyman of SI.com tweets.
1:02pm: The Pirates and Barmes are close to a deal according to Heyman (on Twitter).
12:35pm: The Pirates appear to be in the lead for Clint Barmes, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Giants and Brewers have also been involved, and the free agent shortstop is likely to get a two-year contract.
Barmes, 33 in March, hit just .244/.312/.386 with a dozen homers for the Astros last season, but his primary value comes from his defensive skills. The various advanced metrics have rated his glovework at short as well above-average in recent years. The Pirates are in the market for a new shortstop after declining Ronny Cedeno's $3MM option for next season.
Tim Dierkes looked at Barmes' free agent stock last month, saying that Omar Infante's two-year, $8MM extension with the Marlins could serve as a decent comparable. Jamey Carroll's two-year, $6.75MM deal with the Twins reinforces the comparison.
The Brewers are looking for an upgrade over shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and are combing the open market for a solution. While it remains a longshot, the team sources make it sound as though they are more likely to land Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins than re-sign Prince Fielder, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.
Meanwhile, GM Doug Melvin is doing his due diligence by talking with Rollins' agent Dan Lozano, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter). The club is also set to meet with the agent for Clint Barmes today and the shortstop has quite a bit of buzz around him at the Milwaukee meetings. The Astros and Brewers are among the many teams after him and the Dodgers were also in the mix before signing Mark Ellis, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.
Here's the latest on the Brewers, including what's happening at the GM meetings in Milwaukee:
- The Brewers are much more interested in Rafael Furcal than Aramis Ramirez, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports adds that the Brewers have strong reservations about Furcal and may stick with Yuniesky Betancourt. Still, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke admitted that he likes both Furcal and Ramirez today on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern.
- Clint Barmes is another possibility for the Brewers at shortstop. MLB.com's Adam McCalvy writes that GM Doug Melvin will meet with Barmes' agent tomorrow.
- Milwaukee is considering whether funds are available for the top shortstop on the market, Jose Reyes, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com.
- The Brewers inquired on Gaby Sanchez at season's end, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. If the first baseman becomes available, Milwaukee could make a play for him.
- Melvin says he hasn't given up on signing Prince Fielder, and will meet with Scott Boras today. However, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel thinks the GM has moved on, meaning Mat Gamel could get a chance to start the season at first base (all Twitter links).
- The Brewers will not attempt to re-sign Milwaukee native Craig Counsell, tweets Haudricourt.
- In another tweet, Haudricourt adds that outrighted players Mitch Stetter and Josh Wilson have elected free agency.
On this day in 1988, Los Angeles right-hander Orel Hershiser won the NL Cy Young Award by a unanimous vote after going 23-8 with a 2.31 ERA. Here are a few items of note regarding the Dodgers ...
- Tom Golisano, the former owner of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, is preparing a bid to purchase the Dodgers, according to Craig Karmin and Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal. Golisano is "one of the first to declare an interest in buying the franchise who actually has the money to pull off the transaction," according to the report.
- Outgoing owner Frank McCourt hasn't told GM Ned Colletti not to spend on free agents -- even ones of Prince Fielder's caliber -- this offseason, a source tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Dodgers are "aggressively pursuing" infielders and are also interested in acquiring a catcher and starting pitchers, Major League sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Los Angeles is targeting Clint Barmes, Aaron Hill and Mark Ellis to play second base and/or a utility position.
- Juan Rivera's new contract with the Dodgers could be worth as much as $9MM over the next two seasons, according to Hernandez. The outfielder is guaranteed $4MM in 2012, with a $4MM option or $500K buyout for 2013, and he can earn as much as $500K in each of the next two seasons depending on his number of at-bats.
- Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler is off-limits in trade talks, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter links).
- The Braves and Rockies are expected to keep lines open about a possible deal involving Prado, according to Renck. Fowler won't be going to Atlanta, but the Braves do like Seth Smith.
- The Rockies have had internal conversations about trading for Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson or signing former Rockie Clint Barmes, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The Rockies sent Barmes to the Astros a year ago this month and he responded with a .244/.312/.386 line and solid defense in Houston.
- The Giants offered Bloomquist a two-year deal worth more than $3.8MM before he re-signed in Arizona, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter). San Francisco’s offer was worth $4.6MM over two years, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown. The D’Backs remain interested in Aaron Hill.
- The Giants are looking for a shortstop as a fallback for Brandon Crawford, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter). Baggarly notes that some Giants coaches are big fans of free agent Clint Barmes.
- Brad Lefton of the New York Times explains the origins of the posting system MLB teams use to bid on Japanese players. Within the piece, Lefton reports that the Diamondbacks scouted Yu Darvish this past season.
- Not surprisingly, the Dodgers won't be able to bid on free agents such as Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols until the team is sold, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- The Rockies will consider pursuing Roy Oswalt, according to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding.
The Tigers signed Jhonny Peralta to a two-year deal on this date in 2010. The shortstop responded with 21 homers and a .299/.345/.478 line in 2011 and the Tigers won their division. Here's the latest from baseball's central divisions, starting in Detroit...
- Jonathan Maurer, the agent for free agent second baseman Jamey Carroll, told Lynn Henning of the Detroit News that the Tigers would be viewed "enthusiastically" should they approach Carroll about a deal. Obtaining a second baseman is one of the Tigers' offseason challenges.
- It doesn’t appear that the Tigers will talk seriously with free agent reliever Joe Nathan, according to Henning.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he’s “got to give” Lorenzo Cain a chance to play. The Royals created space for Cain yesterday, shipping Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for Jonathan Sanchez.
- The Cubs will interview Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. for their managerial opening later this week, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. The Red Sox are also interviewing the former catcher.
- Astros GM Ed Wade re-stated his interest in bringing shortstop Clint Barmes back, but he’s not sure the free agent will re-sign in Houston. “I just don't know if it's going to work in our situation," Wade told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Agent Barry Meister expects a “significant market” for Barmes.