Among the many reasons why Houston trading for Clint Barmes two months ago struck me as a misguided move is that he was in line for a sizable salary via arbitration and … well, he just isn’t very good.
Sure enough, today the Astros avoided arbitration with Barmes by signing him to a one-year deal worth $3.925 million, which is pretty crazy for someone who hit .236 with a .656 OPS last season and has a measly .704 career OPS despite calling Coors Field home for eight years.
Barmes has been horrendous on the road throughout his career, hitting just .224 with a ghastly .266 on-base percentage and .352 slugging percentage. And we’re not talking about some small sample of playing time here. He’s logged 1,264 awful plate appearances away from Planet Coors.
He’s a good defender at either middle infield spot and the Astros were in need of a shortstop, but Barmes’ bat is utility man-caliber at best and making a trade for the right to pay him $4 million this season is all kinds of wrong.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.