Thursday, September 15, 2011

Would you re-sign Clint Barmes?

One of the decisions the Astros will need to make this off-season is whether or not to offer a long(er)-term contract to shortstop Clint Barmes. Would you do it? Let's look.

First of all, Barmes - so far - has hit .249/.323/.395, with a .285 BABIP and a 99 OPS+. He has a .975 Fld%, with the average NL shortstop posting a .971 Fld%. FanGraphs has given him a 3.3 WAR, while Baseball-Reference comes in at 3.2 WAR. His current defensive WAR - at 1.6 - is 4th in the National League. How much would you pay for a shortstop with a solid glove that can do some league-average hitting?

Because FanGraphs puts his value at $14m. He's making just under $4m in 2011, but has his first shot at free agency coming his way in 2012.

Let's keep in mind that Barmes will be 33 on Opening Day 2012 - I wouldn't be interested in giving him more than a two-year deal, especially with Jonathan Villar primed to start 2012 at Corpus. Allowing for a logical progression (which isn't exactly how the Astros operate), a two-year deal for Barmes would expire about the time Villar would be "ready" for the Majors - if it happens.

So. Would a two-year, $10m deal suit Barmes? Based on our $60m Question post from July, the Astros are looking at about $50m in 2012 with guaranteed contracts, and educated guesses for arbitration-eligible players. But that's only six players' worth of contracts. There are 19 other spots to fill (for around League Minimum), so let's give it a $450K average, and we total about $8.5m. That's a payroll of $58.5m, without Barmes.

Of course, the $60 million is allegedly a Crane-mandated figure, which won't mean Jack Crap if he's not the owner, but I'm guessing that if Drayton is running the team, he won't be real interested in overpaying for a team he wasn't planning on keeping. Still, if you look at the free agent shortstop list for this off-season, there are only two players under 30 years old hitting the market: Jose Reyes and Ronny Cedeno. There are only four other impending free agents younger than Barmes who will be free agents: Yuniesky Betancourt, Omar Infante, Cesar Izturis, and Ramon Santiago. And pardon, but they're not exactly worth reaching for.

I bet he'd prefer a three- or four-year deal in the neighborhood of $20-25m, but if that's what he's looking for, he needs to find a different franchise, because it makes no sense for this team. Jose Reyes is going to be the prized shortstop on the market this off-season, with Jimmy Rollins coming in second. Barmes could find himself a pretty attractive - and affordable - target if a team needing a shortstop comes up short (see what I did there?) on Reyes and Rollins.

But if the Astros gave Barmes two years and $10-12m, I wouldn't be too terribly upset. Would you?


cockroach said...

I consider Clint Barmes one of the bright spots for the Astros this season, so yeah, I'd make that deal too. He hits better than Angel Sanchez and (ex-Astro) Tommy Manzella, and he's been genuinely exciting to watch in the field. Given that the Astros don't have any shortstop prospects knocking on the door immediately, and given that Barmes has also already expressed an interest in returning, I'd be pleased if they brought him back next year.

Anonymous said...

Barmes is a weak hitting average fielding shortstop. For a team cutting payroll 6 million a year is too much. Even though Astros shortstop prospects are all weak at the minor league levels you might as well just stick anyone out there since you will probably not contend for 2 years anyway. One year from now when Lee is gone and Rodriguez has been traded and Meyers is gone Barmes would be the highest paid player on the team. At his age he will just likely get weaker. 1 year at about 4 million is all he is worth. A 2 year 10 million contract might work if Astros were a contender or for some other teams but not here not now. The 2013 payroll could be 30 million the way it looks now.

Juvenile Court Clerk said...

That is simply not accurate. Looking at component fWAR for NL SS with over 400 PA, Barmes has been slightly above average in batting and baserunning, and the second best fielding SS in the NL. He's been almost as good in total as Jimmy Rollins, who is making $8.5M and is 1 year older.

If Barmes can match his career average production over the next two seasons, $6M per will be a bargain.

If the Astros felt they had anyone remotely close to coming up to play SS we'd be seeing them this month. We have a two year gap, AT LEAST, before Villar, Mier, or any of our other prospects are ready. Barmes is probably the best option to bridge that gap at this point.

Anonymous said...

This team will be a very young, raw team next year and could use a good veteran defensive SS. Not only will re-signing Barmes close up one of the many question marks the team will have next year but it helps to fix a couple of others as well.

I've been wowed by Barmes' glovework many times this year as he's made good plays to get to balls and incredible throws to get runners. He is as big of a boost to a pitcher as Michael Bourn was in CF, if not bigger.

Replacing him would be difficult. Pretty much impossible from within the system. Any FA options are gonna be either way too pricey or a big drop off in production, which we already have in Sanchez. If it were my money and my decision I would do my best to get him signed to a 2 year deal, but I don't see the Astros spending the money to bring him back.

I don't really wanna think about who they'll get to replace him. Does Joe Inglett play SS?