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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.