The Pittsburgh Pirates have intensified their pursuit of 32 year old shortstop Clint Barnes, meeting twice with agent Barry Miester at the GM meetings and the two sides have gone into weekend with numbers being exchanged and are close to reaching an agreement.

Barmes who is seeking a multi-year deal, is likely to earn a two year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports who called the Pirates the leader to sign Barmes. Sources last week said that Barmes is seeking at least $4 million annually. Barmes has been a top target of manager Clint Hurdle who believes upgrading at the shortstop position is pivotal to the Pirates improvement in 2012. In 2011, Barmes hit .244 with 12 home runs and is above average in the field. However, it’s up for debate whether Barmes would be a true upgrade over Ronny Cedeno who the Pirates have remained in contact with but have not engaged in contract negotiations
The Pirates last week dished out a one year deal worth $4 million to catcher Rod Barajas.