The Miami Marlins are signing bullpen help lately and a lot of it too! It might make sense for The Fish to pursue a recently designated for assignment relief pitcher with a lot of potential. I'm of course talking about Matt Barnes. The Boston Red Sox designated their former closer for assignment and are still responsible for his entire salary minus the minimum. This gives The Fish a chance to take a shot at a high strikeout arm for a league minimum salary. So, should the Miami Marlins pursue him?
The Miami Marlins should go after Matt Barnes.
Matt Barnes is a 32 year old right-handed relief pitcher who debuted in 2014 with Boston. That season he only pitched in 5 games and 9 innings, producing a 4.00 ERA/3.47 FIP with 8.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. The following season Barnes pitched in 32 games (2 starts) and delivered a 5.44 ERA/5.23 FIP with 8.2 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. In 2016, he pitched in 62 games and 66.2 innings, producing a 4.05 ERA/3.72 FIP with 9.6 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9. The numbers clearly improved but the walk rate didn't and was alarmingly high.
In 2017, Matt Barnes pitched in 70 games and 69.2 innings. This time he produced a 3.88 ERA/3.33 FIP with 10.7 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. This was a marked improvement and showcased that there might be another level to his production. A level that Barnes seemingly reached in 2018, when he produced a 3.65 ERA/2.71 FIP with 14.0 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 62 games and 61.2 innings. Boston also won the World Series that season.
In 2019, Matt Barnes became a part of Boston's closing committee/revolving door and delivered a 3.78 ERA/3.28 FIP with 15.4 K/9 and 5.3 BB/9 in 70 games and 64.1 innings. He added 4 saves to that production. In the shortened 2020 season, he pitched to a 4.30 ERA/4.84 FIP in 24 games and 23 .0 innings with 12.1 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9. 2021 was Barnes's best season, at least in the first half when he earned his current extension as the team's closer He finished the season with a 3.79 ERA/3.21 FIP with 13.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 and 24 saves in 60 games and 54.2 innings.
2022 went badly for Barnes, as he delivered a 4.31 ERA/3.87 FIP with 7.7 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 in 44 games and 39.2 innings. I think that the strikeout rate warrants a chance. There's always a possibility that his control can be improved and he can be a useful part of the bullpen. He can be available by trade for relatively little or even better as a free agent for a minimum salary (if Boston can't work out a trade for him).