The title of this article is “Pat Meares Redux”, which in layman’s terms means “Pat Meares all over again”. The term Redux is not used often enough by writers in my opinion, and I enjoy using it because it reminds me of former Pirates utility player Gary Redus, and because saying the word “Redux” makes me sound like I’m from the future. So instead of getting “Pat Meares All Over Again”, my fine Rumbunter readers, you get “Pat Meares Redux”.
Actually – and unfortunately -ALL of us have gotten Pat Meares Redux in 2012. Pat Meares has the distinction of being one of the worst free-agent signings EVER in the history of baseball. In Pirates lore, his signing is only eclipsed by the horrendous Derek Bell “Operation Shutdown” fiasco. Meares was never an a good player, he was simply an average shortstop who played in a lot of games for the Minnesota Twins from 1993-1998. He was durable, he was average, he was boring. Meares was whisked into Pittsburgh by GM Cam Bonifay and given a ridiculous four-year $15 million contract to be the starting shortstop for the “rebuilding” Pirates. Bear in mind that in six seasons in Minnesota, Meares was a .65 hitter with 41 homeruns and 42 stolen bases over 2,658 career plate appearances. He was the Websters Dictionary definition of “average major league player”. Cam Bonifay ensured that the entire Meares family would be in diamonds and furs for generations with his boneheaded deal. The kicker to the Pat Meares deal was that the Pirates were only on the hook for a one-year deal initially, then agreed to the four-year deal AFTER Meares had been injured in Spring Training. The whole thing was a major failure, and went down as a black eye in the history of the franchise. Cam Bonifay proved once again why he was the worst General Manager the team ever had, and the fans were the victims.
Since that time, the Pirates have written the book on how to sign over-the-hill veteran players to contracts that no other team would even come close to matching. Meares was followed by Wil Cordero, Jeremy Burnitz, Derek Bell, Pokey Reese, Kenny Lofton, Daryle Ward, etc. and so forth. Now the Pirates are seemingly on the right track, developing young talent, making some decent headway, and they go out and sign C Rod Barajas and SS Clint Barmes. Two guys who are way past their prime – if they ever actually had a prime – and were immediately inserted as starters for a Pirates team that is on the verge of contending in the wide open N.L. Central.
Clint Barmes was signed to a two-year $10.5 million contract prior to this season. He was coming off a 2011 season with the Houston Astros where he hit .244 and hasn’t played a full season with any club since 2009. As any baseball fan can tell you, Barmes is a below-average player who looks like he is playing hurt. Is this another case of the Pirates throwing money at a player without doing their homework first? Is it possible that Barmes is the 2012 version of Pat Meares? As of today, Barmes is hitting a paltry .158 and has struck out an astonishing 34 times in just 114 at-bats. Something is simply not right with him, be it his health or that his already low talent level has fallen off a cliff in 2012.
The Pirates need to re-evaluate the way they look at free agents. The Barajas, Barmes, and McLouth signings have been disasters and Barmes especially has cost this team wins already.
It is Pat Meares all over again, folks. When the “Clint Barmes has been placed on the 60-day DL” announcement comes down – and trust me, its coming – you heard it here first.
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