One former Boston Red Sox fan-favorite is thriving in a new environment.
Longtime Boston reliever Matt Barnes spent the first nine years of his big league career with the Red Sox and at one point was one of the team’s most dependable hurlers. Barnes was an important piece of the Red Sox’s 2018 World Series-winning club and earned his lone All-Star nod in 2021.
After being named an All-Star, injuries and inconsistent play took their toll on Barnes. Although he finished the 2022 season on a high note, Boston surprised the baseball world by designating the hurler for assignment and eventually trading him to the Miami Marlins in exchange for lefty Richard Bleier.
Barnes’ move to Miami seems to have been the perfect fit for him as he’s shined to begin the 2023 season. The longtime Red Sox reliever has made nine appearances so far this season for the Marlins and has compiled a minuscule 1.93 ERA to go along with nine strikeouts. The 32-year-old seems to have returned to form and has walked just three batters and allowed just two earned runs.
Bleier — although in a small sample size — hasn’t been as successful so far this season for the Red Sox. Boston’s move for Bleier certainly made sense as the club only has two left-handed relievers. The Red Sox signed Joely Rodriguez this offseason but doesn’t have any other lefty relief pitchers on the active market.
The 36-year-old has compiled a 6.75 ERA in 10 appearances so far this season. Bleier has struck out eight batters and walked just three so far this season. He has a career ERA of 3.17 so it’s likely he will resort back to the mean and improve shortly but he has struggled out of the gate.
Barnes certainly was more expensive and there was no way to know he would shine to open the 2023 season. If he’s able to maintain his current pace, we might have to eventually look back on this trade as a loss for Boston.