Red Sox DFA former All-Star relief Matt Barnes to make way for Adam Duvall

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The Boston Red Sox made two notable transactions on Tuesday. First, they won veteran infielder Adalberto Mondesi in a trade with the Kansas City Royals, which included reliever Josh Taylor. Next, the Red Sox named former Relief All-Star Matt Barnes to clear a spot on the 40-player roster for recently free-agent-signed outfielder Adam Duvall.

We’ve covered the Mondesi acquisition elsewhere, so let’s focus on the other part of the Red Sox’s transaction log entry — specifically the Barnes part.

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Barnes, 32, has endured the second-worst season of his career, according to ERA+. In fact, he compiled a 4.31 ERA (98 ERA+) and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.62 in 44 appearances last year. It’s fair to write that he didn’t build on a 2021 campaign in which he made his first (and only) All-Star game, and it’s fair to write that he strayed from his established norms ( to date he has a 112 ERA+ in more than 400 games in the premier league).

Still, the Red Sox’s decision to fire Barnes comes as a surprise for a number of reasons, including his track record and contract. Boston renewed Barnes in the summer of 2021, signing him on a two-year deal that began last season and guaranteed him nearly $19 million. He still owes him $7.5 million in 2023, as well as a $2.25 million buyout for a team option for the 2024 season. In other words, the Red Sox will pay him nearly $10 million Not Pitch for them if they can’t find a trading partner in the coming week.

There’s also the matter of the Red Sox choosing to part ways with Barnes rather than another lower-ranking member of their 40-player roster. Obviously, the Red Sox viewed Barnes as a less desirable force than, among others, Kaleb Ort, Ryan Brasier and Zack Kelly. Whether or not that turns out to be the right decision has to be determined, but give this much to Chaim Bloom, the Red Sox’s top decision-maker: He clearly didn’t let Barnes Salary make the decision for him. Red Sox DFA former All-Star relief Matt Barnes to make way for Adam Duvall

Chris Estrada

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