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.
Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.
This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:
“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline. Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires. We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”
That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.