After spending his entire career with the Red Sox, Matt Barnes now knows his next stop.
Boston traded the relief pitcher to the Miami Marlins on Monday, in exchange for left-handed reliever Richard Bleier, according to multiple reports. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report Barnes was on the move, and veteran Miami baseball reporter Craig Mish had the return of Bleier.
According to Mish, the Red Sox will pay part of Barnes’ contract, a move done to enhance the return in the deal. Barnes has one more season on the two-year, $18.75 million extension he signed in 2021. He has a club option for 2024 at $8 million.
Bleier, who turns 36 in April, has spent parts of the last seven seasons in the majors. Red Sox fans might recognize the name, as he made his big league debut with the New York Yankees, and he spent the bulk of his major league time with the Baltimore Orioles.
The left-hander spent two-plus seasons in Miami where he appeared in 142 games. Last season, he appeared in 55 games, tossing 50 2/3 innings for Miami. Bleier posted a 3.55 ERA while striking out 5.7 batters and walking 1.8 per nine innings. His 3.08 FIP since 2020 ranks 12th among 86 left-handed relievers with at least 50 innings pitched.
The Red Sox designated Barnes for assignment last week after officially signing Adam Duvall. Barnes had been the club’s longest-tenured player before the DFA. The UConn product broke into the bigs back in 2014 and pitched in 429 regular-season games before it was all said and done. He was sensational for the Red Sox in 2018 on the club’s run to a World Series title, allowing just one run on three hits in 10 appearances while striking out nine for the Sox.
Barnes’ willingness to take the ball led to the new contract, but it might have also cost him some effectiveness in the long run. He really struggled down the stretch in 2021, allowing 12 runs in just 10 2/3 innings, before allowing 15 runs in just 17 innings to start the 2022 campaign. He and the Marlins have to hope he can build on a strong close to 2022 when he posted a 1.17 ERA in 16 appearances from Aug. 24 through the end of the season.