The offseason. It’s a crazy, weird time. One minute we’re fanaticizing about Carlos Beltran playing right field, and the next, you learn that the Giants narrowly avoid Willie Bloomquist. Seriously, this time of year is fun in a masochistic way; the highs, the lows, the Melky Cabreras, the offseason has it all.
I generally hate offseason rumors, but it’s good blog fodder, and I’ve been in the mood today to talk about this stuff. Which brings me to …
Clint Barmes Facts:
- He once injured himself by falling down while trying to carry a package of deer meat that Todd Helton gave him. No, seriously, that happened.
- He’s a career .252/.302/.401 batter. That’s a wOBA/wRC+/OPS+ slash of .303/74/78.
- He’s hit LHP better over his career (98 wRC+) compared to RHP (66).
- Barmes has played all over the diamond; he’s logged 3,748 career innings at SS; 2,362 innings at 2B; and some brief time at 3B (51.1), CF (17) and RF (6).
- If the advanced defensive metrics are to be believed, he’s a good defender at SS (UZR/150 of 7.2 runs).
- Had a career year with the bat in 2011 (94 wRC+).
I guess he would platoon with Crawford if the Giants want to go in that direction. Upgrading shortstop should still be a top priority for the team. Getting even an average (two win) player to stick at SS would be huge for the Giants. As for Barmes, he appears useful against LHP, but as noted above, he’s downright terrible against righties. He has essentially hit as well as Brandon Crawford did in 2011 for his entire career against right-handed pitching.
The Giants seem firmly locked into value-mode right now, and Barmes should come cheap — and for good reason. Before 2011, Barmes’ previous career seasonal high (by fWAR) was two wins. However, he is coming off a 3.1 fWAR season. If there ever was a time for Barmes to cash in, it’s probably now.
I don’t have access to Crawford’s minor league splits, but being a left-handed batter, I assume he has a normal split against RHP. If so, a Barmes/Crawford platoon at SS has some slight positives. Both are strong defenders, which is a nice start, but there’s a good chance that Crawford will never hit major league pitching — and it pains me to say that because I adore his defense — which would effectively ruin a platoon scenario. In 2011, hitters faced off against RHP in 73.2% of all plate appearances in the major leagues. While Barmes hits LHP somewhat well, he’s only going to face LHP approximately 25% of the time making his the weaker side of the platoon.
Barmes has some uses, but for a team like the Giants that really, really needs to upgrade a key position, I fear he’s more deer meat than filet mignon.