Originally posted on WHYGAVS?  |  Last updated 11/19/11

Ken Rosenthal tweets this afternoon that the Pirates appear to be the leaders to sign the services of Clint Barmes this winter to what would likely be a two-year deal. The Brewers and Giants are also in the mix. Barmes was a pretty good player for the Astros last year, turning in some impressive glovework at shortstop with just a hint of pop (12 homers). 

On the whole, though, I doubt that having Barmes at short would be very different from having Cedeno there. Barmes's OPS since 2006 is .695, which is a little better than Cedeno's (.635) in the same span, except that Barmes played a huge chunk of his games in Colorado and righty-friendly Houston, while Cedeno most of his games in Pittsburgh and Seattle, which have very difficult parks for righties. Barmes's glove grades out a bit better than Cedeno's at short, but it's worth noting that he's barely played there since 2006 (2011 was his first year as a full-time shortstop since the Tulowitzki era began in ColoradO) and so it's a bit harder to make a judgment with the advanced metrics that need a bigger sample size. 

It's also worth noting, of course, that he's four years older than Cedeno and that he's at a point in his career where it's possible his ability to play shortstop will disappear in very short order. Which, I suppose, is to say that it's possible that Barmes will be better than Cedeno in 2012 and it's also possible that he'll be worse. He'll also quite possibly be very bad in 2013. The beauty of the Cedeno option was that it was cheap for 2012 and didn't extend to 2013, which left the Pirates with some time to evaluate d'Arnaud and Mercer and look for a better upgrade through a trade. Signing Barmes to a two-year deal wouldn't be ignoring the Pirates' shortstop problem, exactly, but it'd basically be deferring it until after 2013 rather than trying to tackle it head-on this winter.  

UPDATE: Jon Heyman says the Pirates are "close to a deal" with Barmes. BE STILL MY BEATING HEART! All jokes aside, it is nice to see the Pirates going out and getting guys they want, rather than sitting back and hoping someone falls to them. Unless they sign Barmes to a three-year deal. That will not make me happy. 

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