According to several reports on twitter from several baseball experts, free agent Clint Barmes is close to agreeing to a two year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last year with the Astros, Barmes slugged 12 home runs, drove in 39 runs and batted .244. He is a defensive whiz and with no obvious replacement in Houston, he will be missed. Terms of the proposed deal have not been disclosed.
I was never a fan of re-signing Barmes, but that was due largely to the fact that he was labeled as a Type B free agent and if he were to leave, the Astros would receive a compensatory first round pick in the upcoming 2012 draft. In my opinion, another draft pick is far more valuable to a franchise in desperate need of additional picks, than a 32 year old shortstop. However, rumors have swirled that, among other things being negotiated in the new CBA, taking away Type B free agents is one of them. If this is true, the Astros will lose Barmes for nothing and will have a gaping hole at shortstop as no one in the minor league system is ready for the big leagues yet. More on this to come, as it becomes available.
Update: Its a done deal. Barmes and the Pirates have reached an agreement on a two year deal worth $10.5 mil. Barmes will fly to Pittsburgh today to take his physical. Due to Barmes being a Type B free agent, the Astros will receive a supplemental first round pick, which given the Astros record, will be the first pick of the compensatory round.