Tough Decision for DFA Matt Barnes, Highlighting the type of relief bias

Tough Decision for DFA Matt Barnes, Highlighting the type of relief bias

The endgame world can be hectic and year-to-year consistency can be elusive for many different reasons.

Perhaps the most recent example came to light on Tuesday when the Red Sox designated Matt Barnes with a room assignment on the roster for new outfielder Adam Duvall along with Adalberto Mondesi.

It wasn’t long in real life but maybe ancient in July 2021 when Barnes paid a two-year, $18.75 million extension shortly before his first All-Star game. The deal was signed while he was in the midst of producing a 1.12 ERA in July but the following month, he pitched to a 13.50 ERA and produced just one of his 24 saves.

Last season continued the nightmare ending to 2021. He had a 7.94 ERA before missing two months with right shoulder inflammation and then returned to what appeared on the surface to be effective with a 1.59 ERA. Except the pitcher who produced strikeout rates of 36.2 in 2018, 38.6 in 2019 and 37.8 in 2021 was down to 19.3 percent last season.

While Barnes could certainly regain some of the success of the past as many pitchers do now, they recover from injury, the Red Sox felt otherwise, and the signing of Kenley Jansen seems to reflect that. and Chris Martin’s perspective.

“The conversation itself was one of the hardest I’ve had,” Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom told reporters.

Barnes is expected to clear waivers and become a free agent assuming a trade can’t be worked out and how the Red Sox said they were upset about the decision shows the human side of day-to-day transactions.

“More than anything, this is just a function of where we are in the offseason and our 40-man roster,” Bloom said. “There are no easy decisions and, you know, regardless of recent accomplishments, regardless of what’s under their belts in their careers, everyone on our 40-man roster has real value.”

“And so that forces some tough choices, and it’s obviously something we’ll be working on all season. And today we landed on Matt, but beyond that, there’s definitely nothing negative about him. I think it’s more of a statement about where we are with the 40-man roster, and then I want to see the process play out first before I say more.”

However, Barnes being cut could be seen as a surprise. He is owed $7.5 million for the 2023 season and on the surface it seemed to fans that Ryan Brasier was worth keeping.

Unlike the Yankees making any effort to keep Aroldis Chapman, this was a no-brainer, which explains the tone Bloom spoke to when addressing the move to reporters in Boston.

In the context of the Yankee-Red Sox contest, Barnes’ final act was among a handful of pitchers who faced Aaron Judge and hoped to avoid allowing his 61st or 62nd homer. Barnes came close when he retired Judge on a warning whistle in the ninth inning that landed 404 feet into Hernandez’s glove in center field.

“He’s a great guy and he’s having an incredible season, I want to know him,” Barnes said on Sept. 22. “I don’t care about history. We got a ball game to win. If I give up a homer, it’s game over, right?

“So I’m sure he’ll do it at some point this season and I’ll congratulate him and everything. If I go out there and get caught up in the history of what he might be doing and I start tiptoeing around the at-bat, I’m probably going to hang something and I’m probably going to miss middle and my things go. get worse and I’ll probably give up a home run.”

And against the Yankees, Barnes has an ugly 7.15 ERA in 41 appearances and that includes an 8.31 ERA in 2018 as he continued to emerge as an effective bridge to Craig Kimbrel.

After going without Xander Bogaerts, Barnes was the longest tenured Red Sox. His 429 appearances are third in team history behind Tim Wakefield’s 590 pitched in and Bob Stanley’s 637 appearances in.

Two years ago, it was easy to expect Barnes to pitch after the 2022 season but subsequent struggles and injury show how things could backfire, though the righty will likely find a new team and pitch the this season.

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