Now that the Pirates have left themselves without a shortstop, costs on the free agent market become especially relevant. And things are looking mighty scary on that front, thanks to the Diamondbacks.
Arizona has made two signings recently: John McDonald for two years at $1.5 million per year and Willie Bloomquist for two years at $1.9 million per year. Both have always been utility players. McDonald is a good defensive player but one of the worst hitters ever to cling to a bat; his career OPS+ is a pitiful 59. Bloomquist has a career OPS+ of 76 and, according to UZR, is an average defensive player. The Giants reportedly offered Bloomquist as much as or more than Arizona, so it's not a case of the D'backs simply going insane.
This is not making Clint Barmes look very signable, especially for a team that wouldn't pay Ronny Cedeno $2.8 million on a one-year commitment. Barmes over his career has been almost exactly the same hitter as Bloomquist, with a 78 career OPS+ (that's park-adjusted, so it's not Coors-dependent). But Barmes has been a regular for large parts of the last six years and, according to UZR, is very good defensively. He's over a year younger than Bloomquist and five years younger than McDonald. If they can get two years, he's likely to get three. And if Bloomquist can get $1.9M per, you have to think there's a good chance of Barmes getting at least double that. Yet the Pirates weren't even willing to make a total dollar commitment to Cedeno that was less than what McDonald got. Do the Pirates have a realistic understanding of the market?