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?