By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The Pittsburgh Pirates and shortstop Clint Barmes agreed to terms on a two-year, $10.5 million deal.

Barmes hit .244 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs with the Houston Astros in 2011. He joins recently signed catcher Rod Barajas as offseason free agent signings for the Pirates.

Barmes played under Pirates manager Clint Hurdle in Colorado from 2003-09. Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said the organization found the guy they wanted in Barmes and went out and got him quickly to fill a need on the roster.

“Much like the catching market, we felt like it was in our best interest to go get the guy that we wanted and felt like we had a legitimate chance to get,” Huntington said, according to the Pirates official website. “In the past we sat back and waited to find what everybody else had picked through and hoped that we could get a good player. In these two instances, we decided to be aggressive and go get the guy that we wanted and that we felt like we could get.”

The Pirates declined an option on former shortstop Ronny Cedeno earlier in the offseason and Brandon Wood left in free agency, leaving a huge gap at the position.

Chase D’Arnaud was the most experienced shortstop left on the roster as far as appearances last year before the signing of Barmes. Huntington said Monday that D’Arnaud will not be the team’s major league backup, as they want him to continue to develop at the Triple-A level.

Barmes is viewed as a bigger asset at shortstop defensively, but he has shown he can hit for power as well. He has four different 10-homer seasons and has hit 43 home runs over the last three years.

“The deal that the Pirates were offering — the guaranteed two years at shortstop — it was hard to pass up,” Barmes said. “This is the first big contract that my family and I have been able to agree upon.

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