The Boston Red Sox were ready to dump Matt Barnes for anything at all, even if that ‘anything’ was absolutely nothing. Then the Miami Marlins came along.
According to Craig Mish of the Miami Herald, the Red Sox have traded Barnes to the Marlins. Richard Bleier is heading to Boston in exchange.
Boston Red Sox actually get something from Miami Marlins for Matt Barnes
This would have been an exciting move for the Marlins as recently as the 2021 All Star Break. He had been one of the better closers in the league at that point before struggling down the stretch, eventually losing his spot in the ninth and being left off their playoff roster.
His struggles continued last season as well. Barnes posted a 4.31 ERA and a 1.437 WHiP over his 39.2 innings, striking out 34 batters with 21 walks. Once again, he was unable to hold on to the closer role and was designated for assignment on Tuesday. Considering that Barnes has just over $10.6 million due for 2023, including the buyout of his team option, it was expected that he would end up in free agency.
And then the Marlins came along. Bleier may not be a threat for late inning work, but his career 61.3% ground ball rate makes him a valuable option in the bullpen. He posted a 3.55 ERA and a 1.441 WHiP over his 50.2 innings, striking out 32 batters with ten walks. That is a far better return than the Red Sox could have expected.
This gamble makes sense for the Marlins. They have a hole in the ninth inning and Barnes does have experience as a closer. A change of scenery could work wonders for his career. And, if he does perform well, his contract, with the team option for 2024, could be a bargain. But one has to wonder if other teams were interested in his services; even if that is the case, a viable major league option still feels like an overpay for a pitcher that could have been plucked off the scrap heap with the Red Sox paying the majority of his salary.
The Boston Red Sox were going to get rid of Matt Barnes one way or another. Thanks to the Miami Marlins, they got something back for him.