The 34-year-old Barmes, who is mostly valued as an excellent defensive shortstop, hit .211 in 304 at-bats for the Pirates last year, splitting time at shortstop with Jordy Mercer.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told a media gathering on Wednesday the club was open to re-signing Barmes.
"We want to bring in a guy to catch the ball," Hurdle said. "We want to get a guy that can catch the ball and put putouts away for the days that Jordy's not at shortstop."
Hurdle said Barmes' potential role was made clear after the season.
"We had a conversation out the door in our exit interviews about the role we could envision he could play for us this year. We spelled it out directly to him," Hurdle said. "I do believe this is always a challenging time for a player of Clint's (ability). He wanted to see if there was a job to be available to play a large volume of games to be a starting shortstop.
"He knows us. We know him. He's a very good defender. He's an impact defender. He's very good with our younger players. He's very good in the clubhouse. So there is a lot of tangible and intangible aspects of him we like."