Red Sox: Re-signing Matt Barnes was a smart move by Chaim Bloom
Matt Barnes and the Red Sox wisely put pen to paper
On Sunday, the Red Sox announced that they had come to terms with Matt Barnes on a contract extension that will see the closer stay in Boston through the 2023 season. This comes on the heels of an earlier report from The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier that the two sides were close on a deal. This news comes at a perfect time for the organization as the longtime reliever is hitting a career year and looks like only be getting better.
Barnes has been with the club since 2014 after being drafted in the 1st round by Boston in 2011. While he hasn’t always been as automatic as we’ve seen in 2021, he has been a reliable workhorse pitcher for whoever is sitting in the manager’s seat. This extension is just another genius-level move by Boston CBO Chaim Bloom as it’s the dictionary definition of a win-win.
All Matty Backpacks wanted was to stay in Boston and get paid what he felt was a fair wage. Well, he got exactly that as his new deal will see him get a significant raise as he’ll earn $18.75M over the next two seasons with a team option for the 2024 season worth another $8M. It’s a win for the Red Sox as they’d surely be paying far more for a top-end reliever or closer in free agency and can now use the freed-up cash to fix another one of their deficiencies.
"“This is a first class organization that treats us like family and provides a winning opportunity every single season, so I’m incredibly grateful to them and honored and humbled to be able to continue my career in Boston,” Barnes said."
Barnes was a product of the UConn system and has developed into one of the best relievers in the game today. He was named the closer for this season after a conversation with Alex Cora in spring training and a hell of a battle with Adam Ottavino. He hasn’t given his manager a chance to regret the decision as he’s been nails all season long. He has 19 saves through the first half of the campaign and ranks 7th in all of MLB for relievers, per FanGraphs.
The fireballer earned his first All-Star nod this year as well and is one of five members of the Red Sox to be honored in Colorado. Oh, by the way, Boston has the most players nominated to the Midsummer Classic this season, just another tip of the cap to the type of year the team is having. But back to Matty B, I couldn’t be happier for him on receiving this extension and I can also admit I never thought I’d say that.
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At times I’ve been one of Barnes’ biggest supporters and other times one of his biggest critics. Going into 2021 I absolutely wanted Otto to be the closer as he’d proven he could do the job while we’ve seen Barnes crumble in that position before. I will fully admit that I was wrong in every way possible as Barnes has settled into his role as the shutdown guy with Ottavino being the perfect setup man. The one to punch has helped Boston get the American League East lead while also having them tied with Houston for the most wins in the AL. Not bad.
"“I love the city of Boston, I love playing for the fans here, so when you start to add up all of these things, there really wasn’t a place I wanted to play that wasn’t Boston,” he added. “I’m really happy we were able to get something done.”"
With full confidence from his manager and now the organization as a whole, Barnes will likely see his career fully play out at Fenway Park. He’s not been with the club for an entire decade and has made it clear he never wanted to leave. This is the club that put faith in him as a kid in college and he’s more than earned it as one of the best bullpen arms in baseball going today. I’m thrilled with what he’s done so far in 2021 and can’t wait to see what he does in the second half as the Red Sox continue their march toward October.