The Boston Red Sox agreed to a contract extension with Matt Barnes
The 31-year-old right-handed pitcher is enjoying the best year of his career. Through 37 games, he’s pitching a career-best in ERA, FIP, WHIP, hits per 9 innings, strikeouts per 9 innings, and K/BB percentage.
He’s not just having a good season by his own standards. Barnes has been one of the best relief pitchers in MLB, ranking 4th in WAR, 2nd in saves, and in the 99th percentile in xBA, xWOBA, K%, and xERA.
For his efforts he is headed to Denver this week for his first All-Star game. The Red Sox, eager to not lose one of the best relief pitchers in the game to free agency at the end of the season, inked a deal to keep Barnes in the bullpen for the next few years.
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported the 2-year deal is worth $18.75 million with a club option in 2024:
At these rates, Barnes is not breaking the bank for the Red Sox. Prior the upcoming free-agency, Barnes’ salary will rank outside the top-10 in the league for relief pitchers next season. There are other big name relief pitchers set to hit free agency this offseason, such as Kenley Jansen, who will likely command a larger deal and push Barnes further down that list.
Barnes’ extensions is an excellent deal for the team and will lock down the anchor of one of the best bullpens in the league, which currently ranks 5th in WAR. Barnes’ 2021 campaign is up there with the best seasons Jonathan Papelbon, Craig Kimbrel, or Koji Uehara ever had with the team. If Barnes can keep the momentum going after the All-star break he may earn himself a place on the Red Sox relief pitcher Mount Rushmore.