Boston Red Sox closer Matt Barnes is having just about the best possible contract year he could have asked for.
The 30-year-old right-hander, who is playing in the final year of his contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, has emerged as one of the best closers in all of Major League Baseball.
Barnes has recorded a 2.73 ERA in 26-plus innings while holding opponents to a batting average of .136.
Barnes, however, is not locked up for the 2022 season and beyond. And while he said Wednesday he wouldn’t be against in-season contract talks with the Red Sox, it’s not something that has presented itself. Some athletes, for what it’s worth, put off contract talks until the end of the season in a way to focus on the campaign.
“I’m not going to say I’m against it,” Barnes said Wednesday during a pregame video conference. “Yeah, absolutely, I would be open to it. But I can tell you firmly nothing has happened.
“We haven’t had any discussions since spring training, so if the Red Sox want to make an offer and they want to start those conversations, listen, I’ve always been a firm believer that listening to information is always free, whether that’s in baseball or life. Listening is free,” Barnes added. “If they want to have a conversation I’m sure that’s something my agent and I can discuss and see if anything comes of that. But as of right now, nothing has happened.”
Barnes did note he and the Red Sox had conversations pertaining to an extension during spring training. Barnes signed a one-year contract worth $4.5 million in December.
“There were numbers exchanged,” Barnes said. “It was definitely serious enough. It wasn’t just a one or two phone calls and, ‘Hey, we’re interested,’ ‘Hey we’re interested,’ and that was the end of it.”
Perhaps Barnes’ production and consistency will change that? We’ll find out soon enough.