Veteran expects to play reserve role, serve as mentor to younger players
By Corey Brock
SAN DIEGO -- After playing the last three seasons with the Pirates, veteran infielder Clint Barmes said he would have gladly returned for a fourth year in 2015.
"I knew Pittsburgh was interested in bringing me back, and it's been great there the last three years, the relationships I've built that makes it tough to leave," Barmes said.
"But I knew that they had some big moves they needed to make and they asked me to be patient. That allowed us time to see what other options were out there. So we were excited to hear the Padres were interested."
On Friday, the Padres made their deal with Barmes official, signing the free agent to a one-year, $1.3 million contract with a $2 million club option for 2016 that includes a $200,000 buyout. That option can escalate depending on his plate appearances in 2015.
Barmes, the first signing by first-year general manager A.J. Preller, was added for infield depth and for his clubhouse leadership. The whole deal with the Padres, he said, happened fast.
"It didn't take too long," Barmes said of the negotiation period. "It was sort of what I was expecting -- to move around the infield, play some shortstop, some third and maybe some first base. Bounce around to give some guys breaks."
Barmes, who will turn 36 on March 6, has played with the Rockies, Pirates and Astros over a 12-year big league career that began in 2003.
Barmes has spent most of his career at shortstop, playing 730 games there while playing 320 games at second base. He spent last season with the Pirates and played 27 games at shortstop.
Barmes is a career .246/.295/.380 hitter who had his best offensive years during his eight seasons with the Rockies (2003-10), hitting 23 home runs in 2009.
He's regarded as a good defensive shortstop who, according to Baseball-Reference.com, has had only one negative dWAR season in his career, and that came over a 12-game sample size in 2003. Barmes has a career 16.4 dWAR.
After non-tendering shortstop Everth Cabrera earlier this week, Preller said Alexi Amarista, who filled in more than admirably during Cabrera's two disabled-list stints, would be given a chance to win the starting shortstop job in Spring Training -- though the team would explore options for depth in the middle infield.
A day later, the team was reported to have made a deal with Barmes.
Aside from helping the Padres on the field, Barmes is looking forward to mentoring young players on the team much like he did in Pittsburgh. In many ways, it's returning the favor so many veterans did for him when he broke into the big leagues with the Rockies.
"I was fortunate coming up with the Rockies; there were guys with a ton of experience, guys like Todd Helton, Mark Sweeney, Todd Greene, Preston Wilson, Desi Relaford, Royce Clayton. I had a chance to pick their brains and watch them go about their business. They were great in the clubhouse.
"I learned a lot of things that I've tried to pass on. I can't say I'm much of a vocal presence. But I'll try to lead by example."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.