Buster Olney is reporting today that the Pirates will bring Clint Barmes back for $2 million in 2014:
Clint Barmes's contract with Pittsburgh: 1-year deal for $2 million.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 12, 2013
Last year Barmes's bat somehow managed to get even worse than it was in 2012 and his playing time got sliced way into by Jordy Mercer, and he was good enough defensively to be worth a full win. Clint Barmes is a really good defensive shortstop. The Pirates have a pitching staff that induces a ton of ground balls. Barmes shouldn't (and won't) play every day at this point in his career, but given that Jordy Mercer really struggles with right-handed pitching (I mean, so does Barmes, obviously, but it's probably closer than I'm comfortable with) and that Charlie Morton gets more groundballs than literally any other starting pitcher, it's easy to find one or two starts for Barmes every week. If he plays even that much, I think he'll be worth $2 million to the Pirates in 2013.
Anyway, moves like this one and the Chris Stewart trade aren't exciting and tend to elicit more negative reactions from the fan base than positive ones, but the Pirates' pitching staff leaned really heavily on their defense last year and these are the sorts of moves necessary to make sure that that's possible again in 2014.