The Chicago Cubs are a potential suitor for relief pitcher Matt Barnes
The MLB trade deadline is Monday, and it should make for a stressful yet exciting day around the league. The Chicago Cubs recently completed their first move by acquiring Jose Martinez from the Rays, but they can’t stop there. In a division that theirs to lose, this team needs to add pitching more than anything. Recent rumors have linked them to Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes.
The Cubs currently have the fourth highest bullpen ERA in baseball at 5.68. At 20-14, thinking of what this team could be with even an average bullpen is so frustrating. The good news is the division is having a brutal season, and the Cubs are benefiting from this in a big way.
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They need to keep the foot on the gas, though, if they want to have any chance to compete for the pennant. If Barnes can come in and aid this disappointing bullpen, it would be a great light.
Barnes has spent seven seasons in the MLB, all with Boston. His numbers aren’t eye-popping, but he has managed a 4.12 ERA with an 11.6 K/9 throughout his career so far. He can touch 97 with his fastball and incorporates a changeup and 12-6 curve into his arsenal.
Barnes’ numbers in 2018 and 2019 stick out, as he posted a 3.65 ERA with a 14 K/9 in 2018 and 3.78 ERA and 15.4 K/9 in 2019. His stuff is there, and he has the potential to come up and take over the role as the setup man as Craig Kimbrel continues to work through issues.
Barnes is struggling so far this season as he has posted a 5.54 ERA in 13 outings, but he is part of a Boston team that is off to a nightmarish start to their 2020 season, ultimately causing them to look at selling.
The Cubs are more in need of a lefty reliever at this stage of the game, but having the opportunity to add a power arm like Barnes from a Red Sox team that is looking to rebuild is something that can’t be ignored. Barnes is currently on a one-year, $3.1 million deal and becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2022. There’s a little club control there, which provides some value, but the Cubs could get him for a reasonable price.
Knowing the division is the Cubs for the taking, Theo Epstein can’t mess around at this trade deadline. The Martinez move needs to be the first of many, and a day without any bullpen addition would be a dagger.
Barnes would be an excellent fit for this group, and since we’ve already seen the Red Sox ship two relievers to the Phillies, it would not surprise me if Barnes finds himself on the move. Let’s hope Epstein can make a fair offer and bring him to this bullpen that needs a spark.