The swap of relief pitchers came as a surprise, but does make sense after a deeper look. Barnes was designated for assignment following a subpar season last week, while Bleier struggled mightily in 2022. Both pitchers will now be able to get a fresh start in a new city, and two teams could benefit from the swap.
Bleier returns to the American League East, a division he spent time in previously with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. For Barnes, this will be the first time he takes the mound in a different uniform. The 32-year old has spent the entirety of his nine-year career with Boston and has been a dependable reliever at times. Barnes has a team option following the 2023 season, and is set to earn a little more than $8.3 million in 2023. Bleier will make $3.5 million this season and also has a team option for 2024.
In parts of three seasons with Miami, Bleier amassed a 3.16 E.R.A, to go along with a 1.202 WHIP. The southpaw was one of former manager Don Mattingly‘s favorite options out of the pen and the veteran answered the call often. Unfortunately for Bleier and the Marlins, the 2022 season was one to forget. The 35-year old declined in nearly every statistical category and became a liability out of the bullpen. Some fans wanted to see Bleier designated for assignment or released this off-season, and the team ended up finding a taker in Boston.
Barnes is coming off a year where he posted inflated numbers, and was a shell of his former self. Barnes was previously the closer for Boston and has experience in high leverage situations. Miami currently doesn’t have an obvious answer at the backend of games, and Barnes figures to be in the mix for a role there. Manager Skip Schumaker has already made it known, that he prefers a bullpen committee rather than a traditional closer. Barnes joins other options such as Dylan Floro for work in the ninth inning going forward.
Spring training is just a couple weeks away and Miami’s roster is coming into focus.