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A Good Old Fashion Challenge Trade for Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

In a bit of shocking news, the Red Sox designated Matt Barnes for assignment on January 24 but were able to work out a trade this week with the Miami Marlins. Boston’s one-time closer who they gave a two-year, $18.75 million dollar extension to midway through the 2021 season was sent to Miami for veteran Richard Bleier. After inking the extension, Barnes posted an dreadful 6.48 ERA and 1.62 WHIP and was ultimately left off the Red Sox’ 2021 postseason roster. Last year wasn’t much better and was easily the worst season of his career where he posted a 4.31 ERA, a dreadful 1.44 WHIP, and a 34/21 K/BB ratio across 39 ⅔ innings. In the introductory press conference held a few days after the trade, Barnes told reporters that he was completely shocked when asked about being diesgnated for assignment. Barnes spent his entire career in Boston and looked poised to finish his career in Fenway before the last season and a half of underperformance. If the 32-year-old can find the smallest bit of promise he showed in the first half of the 2021 season, he could find himself the closer for the Marlins. However, due to his age and track record, it is a huge mountain for him to climb.

Richard Bleier, a 35-year-old southpaw, is projected to be only the second left-handed reliever in Boston’s bullpen. While not a factor for saves, Bleier has been more than serviceable out of the bullpen for the Marlins the past two seasons. He has tossed 108 ⅔ innings for Miami while posting a respectable 3.23 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 76/16 K/BB ratio over the last couple of seasons. The trade makes sense from both sides. Miami is trying to find lightning in the bottle with Barnes and the Red Sox give their much-rejuvenated bullpen another shot in the arm.

Top Prospects Headed To Spring Training

Spring. A time for renewal, growth, and expansion. The Angels, Blue Jays, and Phililes must believe in this mantra as they announced that top prospects Zach Neto, Ricky Tiedemann, and Andrew Painter were invited to their respective team’s training camps. It is not a sure thing any of these top prospects will make the team’s respective roster after spring but seeing these names on the list should perk the ears of deep league and dynasty managers. Neto was the Angels’ first-round draft pick and was aggressively promoted to Double-A Rocket City. While it remains to be seen how aggressive the Angels will continue to be with Neto but with late-season rock star Luis Rengifo and low-power David Fletcher, there is a chance the Angels could promote him during the season if they are competitive and Neto continues his rise. Ricky Tiedemann burst onto the scene last year and finished the season in Double-A New Hampshire has a 19-year-old.

Tiedemann is a 6-foot-4 southpaw with a three-pitch mix and racked up 117 strikeouts in 78 ⅔ innings of work. While he is not projected to crack the Jays’ opening day roster, unless he has a monster spring, he easily has a shot to get a cup of coffee sometime this summer. Andrew Painter also finished the season in Double-A and could see the majors before Tiedemann. As a 19-year-old, the righthander struck out 155 batters and posted a 1.56 ERA across 103 ⅔ innings. While Citizens Bank Park is no easy place to pitch, Painter has the stuff that might just get the job done. From a fantasy manager’s standpoint, it might be too soon to draft either of these exciting young players but if you are in a draft and hold, it might just be worth the gamble in the later part of your draft.

MLB Quick Hits: Dodgers avoided arbitration with Tony Gonsolin and signed him for two years and $6.65 million…Pirates finalized a one-year, $2 million deal with Josh Harrison…Blue Jays inked Chad Green to a one-year, $2.25 million contract…Dexter Fowler and Darren O’Day announced their retirement from professional baseball…Mets are wait-and-see with Starling Marte as the 34-year-old is recovering from core muscle surgery this winter…Mets had concerns about Kodai Senga‘s physical before inking him to a five-year, $75 million deal...Dylan Moore had a minor setback in his recovery from off-season sports hernia surgery…Cal Raleigh had surgery on his thumb this winter but is fully recovered and is ready for spring…Jarred Kelenic and Taylor Trammell will battle for a starting job against right-handers this spring…Andrés Muńoz has begun a throwing program and is expected to be healthy entering spring training…Matt Brash will enter the season in a relief role…Orioles declined a lease extension at Camden Yards…Twins now look unlikely to trade Max Kepler this off-season…Brett Baty is working with Troy Tulowitzki to improve his defense…Miguel Sano will hold a workout for interested teams next week...Luis Severino, Triston Casas, and Luis Castillo will sit out the World Baseball Classic...Mets inked DJ Stewart to a minor league deal...Jason Vosler and Chad Pinder signed a minor league deal with the Reds...Matt Andriese returned from NPB and signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers...Monte Harrison returned to the Brewers on a minor league deal.