I wrote earlier about how the Miami Marlins should target Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Matt Barnes. Well, it is now a reality. While there are other relief pitchers that The Fish should pursue as well, Matt Barnes is a former closer with elite stuff. He's an excellent strikeout pitcher that needs to learn to control his walks. If The Fish can figure out how to do that, he will be an elite reliever and will be a major boost to the team's bullpen. The Fish acquired Barnes for fellow reliever Richard Bleier.
The Miami Marlins acquired Matt Barnes from the Boston Red Sox.
Matt Barnes spent his entire career in Boston. He pitched to a 4.07 ERA/3.60 FIP with 11.6 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 9 seasons from 2014 to 2022. He pitched in 429 games and 431.2 innings. He had some seasons where he especially produced good results. In 2017 he delivered a 3.88 ERA/3.33 FIP; in 2018 he delivered a 3.65 ERA/2.71 FIP with 14.0 K/9; in 2019 he had a 3.78 ERA/3.28 FIP with 15.4 K/9. It's obvious that at his best he was an elite strikeout pitcher with very promising marks. With better defense around him, he could've been an elite reliever during those years.
Things didn't go as well for Barnes in 2022, as he produced a 4.31 ERA/3.87 FIP with 7.7 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 44 games and 39.2 innings pitched. It was this poor season that led Boston to release the reliever, who they will still owe over $8 million in 2023, with The Fish only responsible for the league minimum.
Richard Bleier is a lte blooming 35 year old who had an up and down career. He debuted with a 1.96 ERA/2.67 FIP in 23 games and 23.0 innings in 2016. From 2017-2019 with the Baltimore Orioles he pitched to a 3.21 ERA/3.95 FIP with 4.2 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9. He split the 2020 season between Baltimore :0.00 ERA/1.52 FIP in 2games and 3.0 innings) and the Miami Marlins (2.63 ERA/3.04 FIP in 19 games and 13.2 innings pitched). In 2021-2022 he pitched to a 3.23 ERA/3.13 FIP with 6.3 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in 123 games and 108.2 innings pitched.
This could be a good trade for the Miami Marlins, but only if Matt Barnes bounces back and lives up to his past peripherals. Bleier had solid results, but is likely to decline and had trouble holding leads.