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Sunday, July 11, 2021

Boston Red Sox sign closer Matt Barnes to 2-year extension

The Boston Red Sox signed closer Matt Barnes to a two-year contract extension on Sunday, the team announced.

The deal, which runs through the 2023 season, includes a club option for 2024.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 4-2 and has 19 saves with a 2.68 ERA in 37 appearances this season. He was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his career.

He has spent his entire career with the Red Sox and is 30-23 with 34 saves and a 3.94 ERA and 500 strikeouts in 362 appearances. With 360 relief innings, he ranks fourth in franchise history behind Bob Stanley (552), Mike Timlin (394) and Jonathan Papelbon (393).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 11, 2021 at 10:53 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: matt barnes, red sox

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 11, 2021 at 05:02 PM (#6028618)
Sounds like "vesting options" rather than "escalators" but whatever.
   2. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: July 11, 2021 at 07:18 PM (#6028653)
Well that's awesome news. Sounds like a pretty reasonable deal.
   3. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 12, 2021 at 09:33 AM (#6028706)
The take from Red Sox Nation on social media seems to be that the REd Sox got a pretty good deal with this extension, and I agree. It's not highway robbery either way. Two pointa:

1) For Barnes, 2021 has been quite an important year for him - basically, a year that allows him to officially be set for life financially. But when he was a 1st-round draft pick out of college, it was as a starter, and he quickly moved through the system. But he stalled out, converted to a reliever, was OK for several years...but I think was seen as a bit of a disappointment by the fans. 2020 was a whatever year, so going into 2021, when Barnes was the official "closer", I think fans did not see him as a lights out guy, somebody that makes you say "good, that position is covered, no problems".

But he has been excellent this year, and has earned an extension. If you are Barnes, the idea a few years ago that the team would be happy to get you for "only" 2/$18.75m likely seemed out of reach. It's a nice story in an increasingly-exciting storybook kind of season.

2) This is the first time Bloom has spent some money on a "core" guy beyond 2022. THe team may be having a playoff season, but that was obviously not the original expectation for 2021 - this was supposed to be a season of figuring out who was part of the long-term plan, and who was not, and moving the rebuild forward with a reasonably competitive team, no long-term financial commitments.

Well, things are moving along, and Barnes is the first person to be "locked in" for when the team is supposed to be a legit World Series contender. There are a number of other players coming up where the team will have to theoretically make a decision, and make seek to get ahead of it if it financially makes sense. For example:

- Christian Vazquez - the team has a 2022 option for $7m, with only a $250K buyout. They don't have an obvious replacement set up for him, and you could see the team turning that option into a 2-year deal for $10m, total or something.
- Adam Ottavino - He's in the final year of a contract he signed with the Yankees, making $8m this year, has a $3m signing bonus that gets paid next January. The team did it largely to get a pitching prospect as part of the deal, and Bloom knew he needed a few more bullpen arms, anyway. Little dod Bloom know that Ottavino would be a shutdown setup guy for a pennant contender. He's pretty old, but if he holds up for the year, do they sign him for another year?
- Xander is the big one. He can opt out after next year, and he totally will. They signed him to a 6/$120m deal that started in 2020, and it is a steal. Does the team get ahead of the end of 2022, rip up the rest of the deal, and offer him 5/$150m? Lindor is making 10/$341m, so the market is pretty whacked.
- Devers is a ways away from free agency, but it is official - he is elite. Do they try to get ahead of it as they did with Xander by buying out arbitration years, and giving him a 5 or 6 year deal?

Honestly, it is pretty crazy how few players the team has who are on the hook for any money beyond 2022. Assuming Bogaerts would opt out, the only players locked in after 2022 are Sale and now Barnes.
   4. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: July 12, 2021 at 09:40 AM (#6028709)
Assuming Bogaerts would opt out,

We'll see but I don't think that's a lock. His deal was undervalued when he signed it (not as much as it is now but still) and I think he genuinely is happy here. We'll see what happens. I won't be shocked if what you say about his deal is accurate and he gets some kind of new deal without ever opting out.

Related to that what is the status of the CBA? I feel like the status of the 2022 season is a big unknown that no one is talking about. I think we are looking at a very real possibility of a work stoppage and I have to think that is going to influence a lot of decisions by both players and teams. Did Barnes sign this deal as a hedge? Would guys like Bogaerts/Devers/Rodriguez be more amenable to deals if presented?
   5. Walt Davis Posted: July 12, 2021 at 07:04 PM (#6028826)
I think it remains to be seen how reliever salaries are going to shake out over the next few years but the recent history remains that 2/$18 (or 3/$27) is top set-up guy money and you need to be a closer to top that significantly. Barnes is an odd guy -- he's been a consistently solid but not elite reliever; but this year he's been excellent and he's been the closer. If he'd been an FA last year, I'm not sure he'd have done better than 2/$12 so 2/$18 is very good from his perspective. Of course if he is now an elite closer then it might have cost the Sox 3/$45 or more to get an equivalent pitcher.

As to "set for life" ... According to b-r, he got a $1.5 M bonus when drafted and since then has earned about $12 M. I think he could have squeaked by on that.

X ... I never knew there was an opt-out. He'll surely use it as a negotiating tactic and may have to exercise it. I don't think he'll get $30 M a year though (depending on CBA outcomes) but probably close enough. If the Rfield numbers are remotely accurate, he'll be moving off SS soon (or be Jeter). That's not a huge problem given his bat can carry any position but it's what will hold him back from the really big money probably (but Rendon is a perfectly reasonable comp).

Devers ... they may have waited too long, certainly need to move fast. He'll have just 2 years left to FA after this year, will get a big raise after this year (unless he gets hurt) so there's very little left to "buy out" which means there's little extra leverage for the team and they'll have to pay near full price. 3B is an obvious place for X to move. It makes sense for both sides to wait to see how things play out. Again, CBA stuff might sort that all out quite differently or maybe Devers has a soft spot for the Sox or vice versa.

Status of the CBA ... yep, I don't think it's going to go smoothly and I don't have a sense of where it's all going to end up. The last two seasons have obviously blown a big short-term hole in team revenues and who knows for sure if fans return, the future of all those "TV" contracts seems up in the air, how are players gonna get their share of all that gambling (err, gaming) money; analytics tells everybody not to spend on vets unless they're superstars ... all that piled on top of the standard hostility between these two parties which seems more tense than usual (but still not as bad as 94). I suspect it is time for the MLBPA to secure a good revenue-sharing plan (unless it's already too late), otherwise I suspect salaries will remain stagnant or even creep back with increasing inequality among players.
   6. Darren Posted: July 13, 2021 at 05:08 PM (#6028960)
This seems like one of those rare cases of a player who is a cautionary tale as well as a nice story. Pre-2013 Barnes was a consensus ~#40 prospect. Hardcore Red Sox fans would refer to the days he started as "#Barnesday" and look forward to his dominance. Any suggestion that he might be included in a trade at this point would have been met with derision and anger.

Barnes struggled in the upper minors and was converted to a reliever where he was good, but not exceptional, in the majors. At this point, his value as a trade chit was pretty much gone, and he was destined to see what kind of reliever he could be. Turned out that he was a good-but-not-great one until 2021, when he really turned a corner. Now he's a homegrown prospect who is a key part of the team's bullpen, signed to a multiyear extension.

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