The Red Sox and Marlins traded relievers Monday afternoon, with the right Matt Barnes Dealt with miami for southpaw Richard Blair. Reportedly, Boston is also sending just over $5.5 million in cash on the deal to make the transaction nearly cash-neutral.
Barnes, 32, was set up for assignment by the Red Sox last week after completing a one-year, $7 million agreement with an outfielder. Adam Duvall. He held the starting position for Boston in 2021, earning a team-leading 24 tackles. However, the 2021 campaign has been the story of two seasons for Barnes. He dominated Tone with a 2.25 ERA and a 42% strikeout rate through August 4. Barnes was impressive enough that the Sox He signed an $18.75 million two-year extension In early July.
But for the final two months of the 2022 season, Barnes not only struggled, he collapsed in catastrophic fashion. He pitched only 10 2/3 innings pitched from August 5 onwards, yielding twelve runs on 17 strikeouts and nine walks with 16 strikeouts along the way. It was a disastrous end to what started as one of the best seasons among all of the league’s pros.
Barnes hoped to right the ship in 2022, but promptly lost the locker job early in the year when he faltered to a 7.94 ERA through the end of May. The right-hander has always been significantly lower among the team’s higher leverage considerations in 2023, following the December additions of Kenley Jansen And Chris Martin — a pair of movements that were in large part inevitable from Barnes’ struggles.
However, it should be noted that Barnes finished the game on a high note that likely piqued the interest of Miami and other clubs. He was on the injured list from early June until early August with a sore shoulder, and upon his return, he looked more like old Barnes. Starting on August 4—the same point the Struggle began the previous year—Barnes pitched 22 2/3 innings of 1.59 balls in an ERA and had four saves. His 21.1% batting average was half his dominant 2021 average, but it was still an encouraging note to finish the season.
Barnes may finally get a fresh shot at some savings opportunities in Miami Dylan Floro He is the current frontrunner for this party. Floro worked to a 3.02 ERA across 53 2/3 innings pitched with the Marlins in 2022, and he’s converted 25 save attempts over the past two years. Barnes had just eight saves in 2022 and finished with a 4.31 ERA in 39 2/3 frames. It would add more lost bat potential to a team that ranked 13th among MLB clubs with a 24% strikeout rate than a relief team in 2022, though the downside is clear.
Meanwhile, Blair can fill the Sox’ need for a left stick assist, even as he enters his 36-year-old season. The veteran southpaw has posted a 3.09 ERA in 125 1/3 innings pitched since the start of 2020, and has held left-handed batters at 0.225/.260/.313 since he first reached the major leagues with the Yankees in 2016. Boston Dealer Left Josh Taylor for the royal family in return Adalberto MondisiVeteran sent Jake Dickman (signed through 2023) to the White Sox at last year’s trade deadline and lost Darwinson Hernandez to the Orioles via waivers earlier this season — all of which dented the team’s left-handed depth in the pen.
They’ll get some good left-handed runs from Bleier, though, with his solid track record, there are some red flags. The soft-throwing southerner never missed many at bats, but his strike rate of 14.4% last year was the lowest since 2019. Bleyer, in the past, has made up for his lack of a whiff with phenomenal ground ball rates. However, while last year’s mark of 52.5% was strong for the league average, it was nowhere near the 63.5% level he hit in the 2022 season. Bleier also regularly avoided hard contact, but an exit speed of 89.6mph Last year and a damage rate of 40.8 percent were his two worst performances since his debut in the aforementioned 2016.
Barnes will make $7.5 million in 2023 and is entitled to at least a $2.25 million buyout over the $8 million 2024 club option. Bleier is worth $3.25 million for next season and has a club option worth $3.75 million with a $250,000 buyout for next year. Barnes is guaranteed $9.75 million going forward while Blair will receive at least $3.75 million. The Sox cover the bulk of that $6 million gap for a cash draw of $5.5 million.
The Sox will save a bit of money and provide a middle reliever with an all-around track record and some particularly encouraging numbers against fellow lefties—even if Bleier does come with some potential areas of concern. Being able to control it through 2024 via this affordable $3.75 million option is fantastic.
As for the Marlins, they will add more late-term upside to their bulls with this trade-off at almost no additional cost. Fans may grump on the dump shipping better surface level numbers for what amounts to a Barnes reclamation project, but the Fish are willing to gamble on the smaller, tougher Barnes in hopes of unleashing a big-power reliever that can be affordably controlled through the 2024 season through 8 million dollar option. And if Barnes can indeed get back into form, it would give Miami an exciting arm to put on the market this summer if they’re out of contention after the season.
Ken Rosenthal the athlete It was first reported that the Marlins were acquiring Barnes. SportsGrid’s Craig Mish I mentioned that Boston was getting Blair in return. Jordan McPherson of the Herald He was the first to report that Miami was receiving cash considerations, which mish Belted in the $5mm range. Chris Coetlo from MassLive He was the first to report that the money involved was just over $5.5 million.
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