After being named an All-Star and agreeing to an extension roughly a year and a half ago, longtime Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was designated for assignment, the team announced Tuesday night.
Newly acquired outfielder Adam Duvall took Barnes’s place on the 40-man roster.
“That was one of the more difficult conversations I’ve had,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. “Obviously the DFA process needs to play out. Everybody on our 40-man roster has real value. So, that forces tough choices and it’s obviously something you’ve been working through all offseason. Today we landed on that, but beyond that it’s certainly nothing negative about him.”
Barnes held opponents to a .174 batting average prior to the All-Star break in 2021 as the team’s closer, tallying a 2.61 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched. From that point in 2021 through the 2022 season, the righthander struggled, putting together a 4.95 ERA in 66 games.
He lost the closer role and got off to a horrific start to 2022, registering a 7.94 ERA in 20 appearances. From there, Barnes was placed on the injured list with a shoulder issue and didn’t return until August.
Barnes regained some of his old form from August through the end of the season, registering a 1.74 ERA in 21 games. If he makes it through the waivers or isn’t traded, the Sox will be on the hook for $7.5 million this year.
A first-round pick out of UConn by the Sox in the 2011 draft, the Connecticut native made his major league debut in September 2014. He was a part of the bullpen that helped win the 2018 World Series and briefly was the longest-tenured player on the roster after Xander Bogaerts departed in free agency last month.