Matt Barnes DFA'd

jbupstate

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To some extent it's because they ignore the actual results, which were awful for Brasier, but the underlying stuff was better than the results.

Avg exit velocity stuff from '22, pitchers on the 40 with at least 25 innings last year + Barnes...

Ort 91.6
Barnes 91.1
Pivetta 90.7
Brasier 90.7
Houck 89.7
Crawford 89.7
Winckowski 89.5
Whitlock 88.8
Martin 88.2
Bello 88.0
Schreiber 87.2
Jansen 87.1
Kluber 87.1
Joely 85.3
Mills 85.2

Kelly 85.0
Thanks for the stats. I’m wondering how much exit velo fluctuates year over year. Especially with relief pitchers. Kind of wonder if it’s that useful as a stand alone stat. A few good pitchers clusters with probably not so good. Houck, Crawford and Winckowski for example. Back out an outing for Braiser and does he fall down a mph.
 

Rovin Romine

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Kind of wonder if it’s that useful as a stand alone stat. A few good pitchers clusters with probably not so good. Houck, Crawford and Winckowski for example. Back out an outing for Braiser and does he fall down a mph.
I wonder also. Pitcher A strikes out two guys, gives up a laser and strikes out the last. Pitcher B gives up 5 softish singles while walking 4 batters.
 

JM3

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I wonder also. Pitcher A strikes out two guys, gives up a laser and strikes out the last. Pitcher B gives up 5 softish singles while walking 4 batters.
It seems to me like they're probably looking at K's, walks & exit velocity as their 3 primary data points, obviously with some other stuff mixed in.
 

pedro1999mvp

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This has to be "pending trade" related. I don't love Barnes by any means, but DFAing Barnes while keeping Ort and Brasier doesn't make sense unless you have something in the works for Barnes. I am still waiting to pop the champagne when Brasier is DFA.
I think I have an unhealthy aversion to watching Brasier pitch.
 

LogansDad

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I wonder also. Pitcher A strikes out two guys, gives up a laser and strikes out the last. Pitcher B gives up 5 softish singles while walking 4 batters.
I'm thinking this is exactly why the team picks Brasier over Barnes, and I think they are banking on the team defense (especially outfield) being improved form last year. Barnes K's a lot of dudes, but also walks almost twice as many as Brasier.

60435
 

Green Monster

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This has to be "pending trade" related. I don't love Barnes by any means, but DFAing Barnes while keeping Ort and Brasier doesn't make sense unless you have something in the works for Barnes. I am still waiting to pop the champagne when Brasier is DFA.
I think I have an unhealthy aversion to watching Brasier pitch.
What would be the point of the DFA? Why not just execute the pending trade??
 

YTF

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I would love to see Houck in something like the multi-inning Derek Lowe setup role (i.e., about 70 appearances for 95 IP). Such usage also reduces the need for multiple late-inning LHP in the pen.
Given the Tampa model, I wouldn't be surprised to see Houck in a long/bulk relief role where he's still throwing every fifth day, yet avoiding the third time through the lineup issue. Maybe piggybacking of Paxton starts.
 

cantor44

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I think having both Houck and Whitlock in the pen to each throw multiple innings as needed could be an incredibly valuable weapon.
Totally agree. And Whitlock has certainly thrived in that role - better than he has as a starter. With the FA acquisitions, and Houck and Whitlock in the pen, the bullpen could well be a strength. That is, if another quality starter were acquired .... oy ... with this roster, you squeeze the balloon in one spot ...If they want Whitlock in the rotation, it seems to me they should have hung on to Barnes, to see if his strong finish at the end of the year was indicative of anything.

Alas, it seems to me his DFA might have more to do with the luxury tax than anything. Dipping under in 2023 maybe indicates their eye is really on 2024, which might be wise.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I think having both Houck and Whitlock in the pen to each throw multiple innings as needed could be an incredibly valuable weapon.

The cautious optimism for this team centers around the depth in the pitching staff.
Agree on this. In an absurdly unlikely scenario that every ML team hits full health and 100% projection, the Sox pitching as currently constructed has to be one of the strongest ones going right now.
They have a high likelihood of not doing that, and I'm not sure how that lines up against other team's potential injury risks and regressions.
 

AB in DC

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but my first reaction to this trade is that Bloom doesn't think the team will be competing for the playoffs in 2023. Since the Barnes extension expires this year, he wouldn't be in the mix for 2024 anyway, whereas the other guys we're taking about are still under team control. So this makes perfect sense if Bloom's goal is to improve the 2024-2025 teams at the expense of 2023, which is something folks have speculated long before yesterday.
 

chawson

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but my first reaction to this trade is that Bloom doesn't think the team will be competing for the playoffs in 2023. Since the Barnes extension expires this year, he wouldn't be in the mix for 2024 anyway, whereas the other guys we're taking about are still under team control. So this makes perfect sense if Bloom's goal is to improve the 2024-2025 teams at the expense of 2023, which is something folks have speculated long before yesterday.
Interesting, I didn’t read it that way. To me, tendering Brasier a contract says that they intend to compete (as backward as that sounds to some). He’s a useful, old middle reliever with pretty much no trade value and making alright money. It would have been much more forward-thinking to give that spot to Ward.
 

chrisfont9

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but my first reaction to this trade is that Bloom doesn't think the team will be competing for the playoffs in 2023. Since the Barnes extension expires this year, he wouldn't be in the mix for 2024 anyway, whereas the other guys we're taking about are still under team control. So this makes perfect sense if Bloom's goal is to improve the 2024-2025 teams at the expense of 2023, which is something folks have speculated long before yesterday.
They signed an expensive, aging closer. Seems like a much stronger hint than the fate of Barnes or Brasier.
 

effectivelywild

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I'm thinking this is exactly why the team picks Brasier over Barnes, and I think they are banking on the team defense (especially outfield) being improved form last year. Barnes K's a lot of dudes, but also walks almost twice as many as Brasier.

View attachment 60435
There's an interesting article at the Athletic (from Chad Jennings) that discusses why the Sox would potentially prefer Brasier over Barnes. One reason is that while Barnes did appear to be pitching better at the end of the year, so was Brasier and there was some underlying evidence that maybe Barnes success was based more on luck than anything else. It also links to this Twitter thread that suggests that part of Brasier's struggles have been due to fastball location which was improved towards the end of last year and that if he can maintain improved fastball command with his slider (which appears to be a legit weapon) he definitely could be effective going forwards. Of course the other question is why keep other guys such as Ort, Mills, Kelly over Barnes and that's where Barnes lack of options may have caused him to be the odd man out---if the Sox think that his improved results late last year were a mirage and instead he was the same bad pitcher he had been the previous 1.5 seasons, then having optionable guys that you can send down if they are getting overworked makes them more valuable.

Basically, it looks like that we may be over-valuing Barnes based on things he did two years ago and undervaluing Brasier's potential. If we think that Barnes isn't regaining his effectiveness (and there's some data that suggests that even when he was "good" from a results standpoint, he wasn't really "good" from a stuff standpoint) then even Brasier has more "upside" than Barnes. Now you may disagree with that interpretation but there's at least a logic behind this.
 

soxhop411

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The Athletic (Chad Jennings) has a really good breakdown regarding the decision to DFA Barnes

A small snippet
This is probably the question I’ve seen asked most often. And, look, Barnes has had a better career than Brasier. There’s no doubt. And Brasier has been far too inconsistent to be thought of as a reliable difference-maker in the bullpen. His worst stretches have been brutal, and Barnes’s best moments have been elite. But you don’t have to work too hard to find reasons to prefer Brasier over Barnes at this point.

Frankly, Barnes has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball for the past year and a half. Since July 1, 2021, only 13 relievers with at least 40 innings have pitched to a worse xFIP, and his once-elite strikeout rate has plummeted to less than a batter per inning. In that same time frame, Brasier’s 3.62 xFIP has ranked 91st among big league relievers — which puts him in pretty good company — and his walk rate has significantly improved (of Red Sox pitchers, only Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Whitlock walked fewer batters per nine innings than Brasier last season). Yes, Barnes improved at the end of last season, but so did Brasier, whose month of September — by strikeouts, walks, opponents’ batting average, etc. — was even better. Some publicly available projections have put Brasier and Barnes on more or less equal footing heading into next year.
https://theathletic.com/4124718/2023/01/25/why-red-sox-cut-matt-barnes/
View: https://twitter.com/RRyanmedeiros/status/1611143404045438979?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1611143404045438979%7Ctwgr%5E8d661f8cb7ad44033854d4cbeb6824743fe4d09d%7Ctwcon%5Es1_c10&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheathletic.com%2F4124718%2F2023%2F01%2F25%2Fwhy-red-sox-cut-matt-barnes%2F
 

jbupstate

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This is where advanced metrics fall apart for me.

He was bad because of bad luck seems like a horrible thing to bank on.
I feel the same way on the some deep analytics but I trust the Number Nerds have access exponentially more information than I could comprehend.

But I do know Barnes wasn’t good, walked way too many, wasn’t a sure bet health wise and plainly couldn’t be trusted. Top it off with the sticky stuff and a couple spin rate charts earlier in this thread.

I don’t think they are banking on Braiser. He and Ort could be shot in to the sun within minutes if a player on another team is DFAd or made available.

But I will point out that Bello didn’t have great results but I absolutely, blindly value his underlying numbers. I also wanted Franchy to make his analytical number a reality. I’m a fan Yo!
 

effectivelywild

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This is where advanced metrics fall apart for me.

He was bad because of bad luck seems like a horrible thing to bank on.
Do you trust the numbers more when, say, they suggest a hitter has an unsustainably high BABIP? Are there some advanced statistics you trust and others you don't? I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm just curious.
 

AB in DC

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But I do know Barnes wasn’t good, walked way too many, wasn’t a sure bet health wise and plainly couldn’t be trusted. Top it off with the sticky stuff and a couple spin rate charts earlier in this thread.

I don’t think they are banking on Braiser. He and Ort could be shot in to the sun within minutes if a player on another team is DFAd or made available.
I believe Brasier has another option left, right? That alone may make him a better fit than Barnes.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Is there any evidence that how a veteran was performing at the end of one year predicts anything about how he will do the following season? I think one could easily rationalize Braiser or Barnes over the other, using whatever data is available. Like, a few months ago when people wanted to dump Brasier it was all about his EV allowed which was the opposite of elite. I dunno, I don’t recall anyone suggesting Barnes should be dumped and Brasier kept…until it happened.


I think Ort or Kelly or whoemever over Barnes is more difficult. But furthermore, why make this move so late in the off-season? Maybe they anticipated trading a reliever and didn’t? Guess we will see what the Sox get in return (if they get out of the deal and reallocate the money elsewhere, the calculus changes), but they’ve lost a lot of players this off-season for little or no return.
 

Rasputin

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This is where advanced metrics fall apart for me.

He was bad because of bad luck seems like a horrible thing to bank on.
All of scouting is trying to estimate how good a player is and will be. When you're considering all that goes into it, wouldn't you want to put more weight on things that correlate more with performance?

It's not saying you think he's going to be better because he's had bad luck, it's saying you think he's going to get better results because he has a better process.
 

joe dokes

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This is where advanced metrics fall apart for me.

He was bad because of bad luck seems like a horrible thing to bank on.
I think we can all agree that the OF defense was pretty awful last year. That, in theory, is the "eye test" supporting the metrics. I dont think anyone is suggesting that the 2018 OF is going to turn Brasier into prime Rivera. Just one data point supporting Brasier's continued existence. Just as Barnes's spin rates are a data point suggesting that his late season resurgence might not presage a return to form.
 

JM3

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Is there any evidence that how a veteran was performing at the end of one year predicts anything about how he will do the following season? I think one could easily rationalize Braiser or Barnes over the other, using whatever data is available. Like, a few months ago when people wanted to dump Brasier it was all about his EV allowed which was the opposite of elite. I dunno, I don’t recall anyone suggesting Barnes should be dumped and Brasier kept…until it happened.


I think Ort or Kelly or whoemever over Barnes is more difficult. But furthermore, why make this move so late in the off-season? Maybe they anticipated trading a reliever and didn’t? Guess we will see what the Sox get in return (if they get out of the deal and reallocate the money elsewhere, the calculus changes), but they’ve lost a lot of players this off-season for little or no return.
Yeah, Barnes & Brasier is debatable & the difference could certainly be the cost if they found someone to eat the salary, or the return if they found someone to eat some & give a marginal prospect or something.

My next tier of pitchers to DFA is Brasier & Ort, then I'd probably DFA Winckowski before I considered Kelly, but I might be irrational about that.
 

simplicio

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Winckowski is only 24, don't know that I'd want him gone just yet.

Has anyone seen good arguments for keeping Ort around beyond "throws hard" and "has options"?
 

scottyno

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but my first reaction to this trade is that Bloom doesn't think the team will be competing for the playoffs in 2023. Since the Barnes extension expires this year, he wouldn't be in the mix for 2024 anyway, whereas the other guys we're taking about are still under team control. So this makes perfect sense if Bloom's goal is to improve the 2024-2025 teams at the expense of 2023, which is something folks have speculated long before yesterday.
Barnes had a team option that if they actually thought his late season 2022 numbers were real and they were replicated in 2023 would have been a pretty reasonable amount for a set up guy, so he absolutely would have been in the mix for 2024 if they thought he was good.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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It's more in line with trying to both compete and get shit in order before really going for it next year. Similar to last season.... lots of things have to go right but Henry knows that he at least has to put out a compelling and somewhat competitive team to keep fans interest. As much as posters here freaked out and threatened to drop the team, if they suck but Casas, Bello, Houck and Whitlock all look very good..... I guarantee the fanbase will be glued to the next offseason and the spring of '24 even more than they are now. Mayer being a little closer, younger players showing they're good, the old core basically swept away,

edit- must’ve been in a area with crap reception. I posted this re: back in response to “not expecting anything in 24” post about an hour ago
 

Trlicek's Whip

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Barnes retweeted a comment that alluded to his heavy usage in the past.

View: https://twitter.com/SPChrisHatfield/status/1618049099194068993/photo/1
If Barnes got Proctored, and likely had mechanical issues slowly adjusting (and readjusting) during and after his arm trouble, which led to the velocity drop, which in turn is starting to improve which may account for his modest September resurgence.

But as mentioned upthread, he probably drained his arm throwing so many curveballs such that his velocity is useless if it's not that vintage 98MPH.

As such he still has "buy low on a closer" value for a lot of teams during the DFA window. "Proven closer, WS winner, hopes and dreams" type stuff.

And for the Sox it's better now to get value for him than finding out in ST he's fool's gold, or watching Cora not really use him in the pen based on the past two years of mostly awful pitching.
 
Last edited:

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Barnes had a team option that if they actually thought his late season 2022 numbers were real and they were replicated in 2023 would have been a pretty reasonable amount for a set up guy, so he absolutely would have been in the mix for 2024 if they thought he was good.
Hasn’t it been pointed out that Barnes was actually battling a variety of injuries basically during his shitty period and finally was healthy?
Bloom used the last two months of data on Wacha in ‘21 to pretty accurately predict how he’d do in ‘22. Why not Barnes? And why weigh his likely injured time more heavily?
 

JM3

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Winckowski is only 24, don't know that I'd want him gone just yet.

Has anyone seen good arguments for keeping Ort around beyond "throws hard" and "has options"?
I don't want him gone. I just think Kelly has better stuff & is more likely to be a useful player now & in the future. I find it extremely unlikely they DFA 3 more pitchers this off season.
 

chawson

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Winckowski is only 24, don't know that I'd want him gone just yet.

Has anyone seen good arguments for keeping Ort around beyond "throws hard" and "has options"?
I think what they may like about Ort is his ability to miss bats on pitches in the zone. He'll have to cut down on the walks a bit for it to matter but it's a good indicator.

Zone Contact% (min. 20 IP in 2022)
Whitlock - 72.9% (5th of 321 qualified pitchers)
Mills - 76.8% (18th)
Diekman - 80.5% (65th)
Martin - 80.6% (67th)
Schreiber - 80.7% (69th)
Ort - 81.3% (80th)
Jansen - 81.9% (94th)
 

scottyno

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Hasn’t it been pointed out that Barnes was actually battling a variety of injuries basically during his shitty period and finally was healthy?
Bloom used the last two months of data on Wacha in ‘21 to pretty accurately predict how he’d do in ‘22. Why not Barnes? And why weigh his likely injured time more heavily?
I don't know, they probably aren't doing that, it seems clear that for whatever reason they don't expect his late 2022 numbers to be his true talent going forward, because if they did his contract isn't out of line with the going rate for good set up men. They just gave Chris Martin 2-17.5 when they could have had Barnes for 2-16.4
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Hasn’t it been pointed out that Barnes was actually battling a variety of injuries basically during his shitty period and finally was healthy?
Bloom used the last two months of data on Wacha in ‘21 to pretty accurately predict how he’d do in ‘22. Why not Barnes? And why weigh his likely injured time more heavily?
Even if he was injured and finally got healthy in August/September, perhaps they found his late season performance to be a mirage compared to underlying data (spin rates, etc) whereas the data on Wacha was better?
 

Harry Hooper

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I don't know, they probably aren't doing that, it seems clear that for whatever reason they don't expect his late 2022 numbers to be his true talent going forward, because if they did his contract isn't out of line with the going rate for good set up men. They just gave Chris Martin 2-17.5 when they could have had Barnes for 2-16.4
Or the projection is fine but Bloom has found a buyer/claimer team [thanks to magic closer dust] out there for an overstocked asset category in Boston (middle relief).
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Duran only played ~460 innings in the OF though- mostly in June-August. Braiser was great in June, terrible in July-August. May be something there but I’d imagine the data is pretty noisy. Guess you’d really have to watch the video.
 

Rwillh11

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This is where advanced metrics fall apart for me.

He was bad because of bad luck seems like a horrible thing to bank on.
This article is a pretty simplistic way to work through it - but the basic intuition is that FIP/xFIP/choose your metric are all much better at predicting the next year's ERA than ERA is. So, unless Brasier some weird outlier where what is a better predictor for the rest of the league isn't better for him, you'd expect him to be closer to last years xFIP of 3.49 than the ERA that was over 5.

https://www.pitcherlist.com/the-relative-value-of-fip-xfip-siera-and-xera-pt-ii/
 

The Gray Eagle

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Brasier isn't some weird outlier, he's a 35-year-old journeyman middle reliever who has put up a 4.82 ERA in 155 IP since his really good year in 2018.
His worst year was last year, and middle relievers at his age, coming off their worst season with that kind of track record, usually have to settle for a minor league contract if they can get one.

Looking deep into advanced analytics to find positive things to say about him is missing the forest for the trees.

I'd say it's more likely that he's washed up than he is to ever put up a solid season in the majors again. It's pretty annoying that he's still taking up a spot on the 40-man. I'd much rather see them rotate those younger guys with options through the back of the bullpen than hang on to Brasier and give him $2 million to take up a roster spot with no options.

And if it's Brasier vs. Barnes-- if no one claims Barnes, then we will be paying $10 million this year to have Brasier but not Barnes, while if we had dumped Brasier first, we'd be paying $7.5 million to have Barnes but not Brasier.

Neither are good, but we're paying more money to keep the older guy who has had a worse career.
 

geoflin

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I'll preface this by saying I don't particularly like Brasier. But part of his results last year, as has been mentioned upthread, are affected by the fact that he pitches pretty well most of the time but occasionally has a nuclear inning. Last year that happened 4 times during which he gave up 17 ER in 2 1/3 innings. The rest of the time over 64 appearances he pitched 60 innings with an ERA of 3.45, pretty much the same as the xFIP of 3.49.
 

BringBackMo

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This is where advanced metrics fall apart for me.

He was bad because of bad luck seems like a horrible thing to bank on.
How do you feel about players who have good numbers because of luck? Are you dismissive of unsustainably high BABIPs inflating batting averages and OBPs? How about ERAs that are much lower than FIP and xFIPs? Do you believe that organizations that factor these kinds of discrepancies into their decision making are smart or dumb?
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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As such he still has "buy low on a closer" value for a lot of teams during the DFA window. "Proven closer, WS winner, hopes and dreams" type stuff.
Why would any GM view Barnes as having a "proven closer" aura when he lost his closer job 1.5 seasons ago and just got DFAed despite being owed $10 million?
 

chawson

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Duran only played ~460 innings in the OF though- mostly in June-August. Braiser was great in June, terrible in July-August. May be something there but I’d imagine the data is pretty noisy. Guess you’d really have to watch the video.
There could be something to this.

Brasier gave up 30 hits between June 12 and August 19, a span in which he had a 2.43 FIP and a 6.15 ERA.

For your viewing pleasure, here are 7 of those hits.

1: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sporty-videos?playId=7e35d940-615b-4269-aa7f-6022da522e54
Duran

2: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sporty-videos?playId=a860278d-4f1e-486c-ba96-9b37501d53e1
Verdugo

3: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sporty-videos?playId=bb957d8f-04c3-420d-9d22-81393b119c49
Kiké (SS)

4: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sporty-videos?playId=404e1c5b-5ff9-47d1-b0d8-d2566a193114
The baseball gods

5: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sporty-videos?playId=d1d71e1f-44c8-4fe2-91af-00605ac77086
Duran

6: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sporty-videos?playId=a86c6779-cd76-4b2a-a9a7-0ac8c7be78c5
Bogaerts

7: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sporty-videos?playId=ff0f2445-c4d5-4777-a145-86ec70caf27b
The gods again