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.
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.