Clint Barmes turned down Brewers to sign with Pirates

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No official announcement has been made yet, but Clint Barmes told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that his new contract with the Pirates is a two-year, $10.5 million deal.

He’s expected to take a physical exam today, at which point it’ll be finalized and he’ll take over as Pittsburgh’s starting shortstop.

Barmes explained that he signed quickly because the Pirates “threw a great offer” his way whereas the Brewers wanted to wait until the Prince Fielder situation played out.

Barmes is right about the “great offer” part, as $10.5 million tops Jamey Carroll’s two-year, $6.75 million deal from the Twins and Mark Ellis’ two-year, $8.75 million deal from the Dodgers.

Barmes is younger than Carroll and Ellis, and more importantly he’s an elite defensive shortstop, but he’s also a career .230 hitter with a ghastly .270 on-base percentage and .360 slugging percentage away from Coors Field. Barmes was better than that in his first season since leaving the Rockies, hitting .244 with a .312 OBP and .386 slugging percentage, but clearly the Pirates are paying for his glove while hoping Barmes smacks 15 homers along with all that out-making.

And now the Brewers may be left turning back to an even more extreme out-maker without Barmes’ defensive skills in Yuniesky Betancourt.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.