Barmes signed on early to Padres' offseason makeover
Veteran shortstop brings playoff experience, versatile infield glove to revamped roster
SAN DIEGO -- Veteran infielder Clint Barmes signed his one-year, $1.6 million deal on Dec. 3 -- a little before the Padres became cool.
Newly hired general manager A.J. Preller had just begun remaking a club that has been one of the big newsmakers of the offseason.
"Being one of the earlier guys to sign over there, you hear from the GM that they're going to try to make these trades and sign these guys," Barmes said Saturday before working with a large group of boys and girls from Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska at the Clint Barmes Top of the Nation Baseball Clinic in Greeley, Colo. "It happens every year. You hear a lot of that. But to have a guy do what he's done has been pretty impressive.
"My agent said they were focusing on making some changes and bringing guys in. It's definitely going to be exciting."
Barmes, who turns 36 on March 6, is being brought to San Diego to help bring all the offseason excitement together in the form of winning baseball.
The Padres, of course, didn't stop with Barmes. They've added popular outfielders Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton, All-Star catcher Derek Norris and onetime top prospect Will Middlebrooks. All were added to a strong, young pitching staff.
Barmes, a .246 career hitter over 12 seasons, doesn't grab headlines quite like the other acquisitions. But since his official rookie year with the Rockies in 2005, Barmes has been a part of four playoff teams -- two with Colorado, and '13 and '14 with the Pirates. With the Rockies, he was part of a youthful group that came together for a World Series trip in '07 and the playoffs in '09. In Pittsburgh, he was a steadying veteran helping a young squad realize its postseason dreams.
With the Padres, it's a mix of homegrown players who believe they're ready to win and assembled vets with much to prove.
"When teams I've played on won, we had a good group that we were all in it for one reason, and that's to do whatever it took to win the game that night," Barmes said. "You get a group of guys that buy in to that, you've got a good chance to put something together. We have a very good chance of getting where we want to go, and getting to where San Diego wants us to go, which is back into the playoffs and competing for a championship."
Barmes comes to the Padres with the experience of being forced into, and succeeding at, adjusting to new roles.
The Pirates signed him to a two-year, $10.5 million deal before the 2012 season to be their starting shortstop. But by last season, it was clear the Pirates were ready to transition to Jordy Mercer as the regular. Barmes re-upped for one year at $2 million and became an infield utility man, with 27 games at short, 14 at second and two each at third and first.
Barmes said he expects to move around the diamond with the Padres. There could be matchup possibilities with his right-handed bat and the lefty bat of Alexi Amarista, who played a career-high 73 games at short (148 games overall) and could be in line for regular duty at the position.
"I'm excited about jumping in, getting to know Amarista and basically passing on everything I know, trying to keep him positive," Barmes said. "He obviously has a lot of talent.
"I want to play. I want to help the team on the field just as much as the next guy. Everybody wants to play and everybody wants to contribute. So there may be competition for playing time, and you're doing what you can on a personal level to get in there and help the team. And when you do, you're ready."