A team can never have enough bullpen arms. Today’s game is especially demanding in that area, as starters’ average innings per turn is decreasing and relievers take a heavier load. The New York Mets know this, as the bullpen failed in the shortened 2020 season. Edwin Diaz returned to elite status, but Dellin Betances, Brad Brach, and others failed to reach expectations.
That’s why the New York Mets want to address the area during the offseason. In late October, they claimed right-handed pitcher Jacob Barnes off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. Today, the team and the hurler avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $750,000 contract, according to Bob Nightengale.
The pact reportedly comes with some incentives that could net Barnes and additional $100,000. If you look at the surface numbers, the Mets aren’t getting a good reliever in Barnes, as he had a 5.50 ERA with the Angeles in 18 frames.
However, Barnes is a savvy addition to a club in need of several quality bullpen arms. He carries very good potential, as he had a 24/4 K/BB in those 18 innings and his fielding independent pitching (FIP) was a fantastic 2.25.
The Mets are making a worthwhile gamble
The Mets know they are getting a pitcher with iffy control (4.00 BB/9 rate in 198 career innings) but one who is capable of striking out a batter per frame, as evidenced by his 209 punchouts over that timeframe.
Barnes is primarily a two-pitch hurler. He throws a 90 mph cutter roughly 52 percent of the time and a 95 mph four-seam fastball 46 percent of the time. He rarely throws a changeup.
The Mets are hoping that pitching coach Jeremy Hefner helps him refine his repertoire and get the best possible results out of Barnes. If he has a good spring, he has a very good chance of starting the year in the active roster and contribute from the very beginning.
Barnes was eligible for salary arbitration. The deadline for the Mets, and all teams, to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible ballplayers is this Wednesday at 8 p.m.