Pirates sign free agent Clint Barmes

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the signing of infielder Clint Barmes (“BAR-miss”) to a two-year contract through the 2013 season. The announcement was made by Pirates Senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington.

The 33-year-old Barmes spent the 2011 season with Houston and hit .244 (109-for-446) with 27 doubles and 12 home runs in 123 games. He made all 122 defensive appearances (120 starts) at shortstop in 2011 and led National League shortstops in UZR (7.9) and UZR per 150 games (10.8), according to fangraphs.com. Additionally, Barmes tied for first among all qualifying Major League shortstops in UZR per 150 games for shortstops with 1,400 or more innings in 2010-2011 (11.9).

“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,” said Huntington. 

The right-handed hitting Barmes was originally selected by Colorado in the 10th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft and made his Major League debut with the Rockies in 2003, hitting .320 (8-for-25) in 12 games a September call-up. He spent parts of eight seasons (2003-2010) in the big leagues with Colorado before being traded to the Astros on 11/18/10. 

Barmes hit a career-high 23 home runs and knocked in a career-high 76 runs with the Rockies in 2009. In 788 career Major League games, he has produced a .252 batting average, 73 home runs and 324 RBI. 

To make room on the 40-man roster for Barmes, the Pirates have designated catcher Brian Jeroloman for assignment.