It has been a difficult year and a half for Matt Barnes.
He had been an All Star closer in 2021, having seized the ninth inning role the year before and running with it. However, he began struggling in the second half of the season, losing the closer role and being left off the postseason roster. Those struggles continued in 2022 as the Red Sox inability to find a stable option for the ninth inning helped torpedo their season.
Boston Red Sox give up on Matt Barnes
As the Red Sox look to rebuild their roster, and their pitching staff, the writing started to be on the wall for Barnes. The addition of Kenley Jansen provided the Red Sox with another closer, moving Barnes further down the pecking order. Finally, with the Red Sox needing room on their 40 man roster, he was designated for assignment on Tuesday, giving the Red Sox a week to either trade him or pass him through waivers.
As Barnes is due over $10.6 million due to his salary for 2023 and the buy out of his 2024 team option, it is unlikely that he will be claimed on waivers. The Red Sox could look to stash him in Triple-A, but Barnes is far more likely to choose free agency and look to re-establish himself before returning to the market next season.
Almost everything that could have gone wrong for Barnes did last season. He posted a 4.31 ERA and a 1.437 WHiP over his 39.2 innings, striking out 34 batters with 21 walks. His 7.7 K/9 rate was the lowest of his career while his 44.9% hard hit rate was the second highest of his career.
But maybe Barnes just needs a change of scenery. Relievers are always in demand and Barnes has had success at the major league level. It is likely that a team would take a flier on Barnes at the league minimum in hopes that he can regain his form and become a late inning weapon once more. He could be a bargain for any team willing to take the chance.
The Boston Red Sox have designated Matt Barnes for assignment. He will now look to latch on with another team to resurrect his career.