Matt Barnes DFA'd, traded to Marlins for LH reliever Bleier

WilhelmScream

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Dec 22, 2022
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Damn, how am I going to complain about Bloom if he keeps making smart moves?!

I'm excited for the team this year. A lot of players with something to prove. Speedy bench guys. Bullpen full of control artists. Hell yeah.
 

Daniel_Son

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Bleier is known for not walking anyone, right?
Indeed. 4% career walk rate. Really, really elite numbers on that front.
60627

However, he does have a 62.5% ground ball rate. With the questions we've got in the middle infield + the new shift rules, I'm a little nervous about his ability to limit hits. We'll see.
 

BaseballJones

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I mean the career numbers are ok, but he's about to enter his age 36 season, and last year he had a WHIP of 1.44, and his era went up from 2.95 in 2021 to 3.55 in 2022. So he doesn't walk many but he gives up a ton of hits (11.2 per 9 innings last year).

I just wonder how much he has left in the tank.
 

JM3

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Dec 14, 2019
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Yeah, it's kind of an odd pitching profile. He allows both hard contact & very consistent contact, but half his pitchers are sinkers & he gets hitters to chase them & beat them into the ground. Very defense dependent pitcher.

He allowed a .341 BABIP last year, but still had a decent ERA. They are probably hoping for some regression toward the .275 & .280 the 2 previous years. His groundball rate also decreased drastically from 72% in '20 to 65.5% in '21 to 52.5% last year. They could think they see how to get back to that previous success.

It could be as simple as "throw more sinkers". He dropped from 61.6% in '21 to 48.6% last year.

We shall see what the next domino is.
 
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The Gray Eagle

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I think if we hadn't DFA'd Barnes first, and had been able to just announce this trade instead, the reaction would have been way, way more positive.
Surely they had to clear the roster spot before this was finalized, so we had to do the DFA, but looks like this could work out well after all.

I can't stand relievers who come in and walk people, so Martin and Bleier should at least make me less irritated this summer.
 

Rovin Romine

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I mean the career numbers are ok, but he's about to enter his age 36 season, and last year he had a WHIP of 1.44, and his era went up from 2.95 in 2021 to 3.55 in 2022. So he doesn't walk many but he gives up a ton of hits (11.2 per 9 innings last year).

I just wonder how much he has left in the tank.
If the tank has gas. . .his contract has a $3.75M team option for next year, and a $250K buyout.
 

A Bad Man

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Dec 12, 2016
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Frees up about 5 mil? Barnes AAV at 9.38 - Bleier 3.5 + 1 to Marlins (rumored). Roughly 13 mil under?
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
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I think if we hadn't DFA'd Barnes first, and had been able to just announce this trade instead, the reaction would have been way, way more positive.
Surely they had to clear the roster spot before this was finalized, so we had to do the DFA, but looks like this could work out well after all.

I can't stand relievers who come in and walk people, so Martin and Bleier should at least make me less irritated this summer.
It'll be great to see relievers come in and not walk people.

It'll be less great to see relievers come in and give up lasers all over the ballpark.
 

JM3

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Dec 14, 2019
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Yeah, it's kind of an odd pitching profile. He allows both hard contact & very consistent contact, but half his pitchers are sinkers & he gets hitters to chase them & beat them into the ground. Very defense dependent pitcher.

He allowed a .341 BABIP last year, but still had a decent ERA. They are probably hoping for some regression toward the .275 & .280 the 2 previous years. His groundball rate also decreased drastically from 72% in '20 to 65.5% in '21 to 52.5% last year. They could think they see how to get back to that previous success.

It could be as simple as "throw more sinkers". He dropped from 61.6% in '21 to 48.6% last year.

We shall see what the next domino is.
More on Bleier... he's actually a guy who is pretty good against lefties (Joely has neutral splits).

Last year Bleier had a 3.23 xFIP against lefties, 4.23 against righties. He's also not someone who benefitted from shifting - 4.71 xFIP with no shift, 4.92 xFIP with a shift.

He only pitched 5 innings of high leverage baseball all season for the Marlins last year (10 medium, 35.2 low) though, so he's not exactly someone who is being entrusted in big spots. & unless he lowers his BABIP back down, is probably a JAG.

Good cost savings, though, & team option with low buyout is always nice.
 

Rovin Romine

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He's also the 3rd most successful player (by WAR) to be born in Miami Beach. So yay.

And - as a reminder, we have the 2023 Bullpen thread as well if anyone wants to copy and paste observations into that.

(I'm hoping the various "2023" threads will be an easy place to find pitcher info as we hit Spring Training.)
 

moondog80

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Sep 20, 2005
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Wonder if he’s a candidate to be helped by the elimination of the shift.
Are there pitchers who that will help? Or just pitchers who it will hurt less than others?

My guess is that guys with low BB and low K (and thus more balls in play) will be hurt more.
 

JM3

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Dec 14, 2019
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Lol I just realized how dumb of a metric xFIP is for measuring shift effects. But yeah, he's the type of pitcher you would expect to be impacted most by the shift.

In his career, .304 BABIP with no shift, .284 BABIP with a shift. It could be a problem.

Last year was .344 with no shift, .333 with a shift. So the key will be making up for that by inducing softer contact.
 

SouthernBoSox

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I’m a little stunned by the cost savings + getting a major league piece back.

I mean we have absolutely no idea what Barnes will pitch like, but there is a decent chance he’s worse then Bleier, cost twice as much, and has a year less control.

It’s weird, frankly. I’m not sure what Miami is doing.

Getting a competent major league lefty reliever and saving 4 AAV seems like a real savy move.
 

simplicio

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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
Adding Bleier's 89.6 from last year to this, he's not nearly as much of a soft contact guy as their other acquisitions this winter.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Yeah, this seems to me like a case of swapping a guy where they had a potential excess (RH relief) for an area where they were deficient (LH relief), and saving some money. Of course, they still need to clear a roster spot so will be interesting to see how they accomplish that.
 

billy ashley

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Who wins this round of Musical DFA? Savvy move from Bloom. The savings means another MIF or SP.

Ort or possibly Duran. Would think Ort being more likely. Reportedly, Boston has been trying to make trades to consolidate these end-of-the-40-man types all winter. Maybe we see some more activity in the coming days.
 

scottyno

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Ort or possibly Duran. Would think Ort being more likely. Reportedly, Boston has been trying to make trades to consolidate these end-of-the-40-man types all winter. Maybe we see some more activity in the coming days.
Taking Bleier back means that they still need to DFA someone to add him now, so it doesn't really help any of the fringe 40 man guys
 

nighthob

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Indeed. 4% career walk rate. Really, really elite numbers on that front.
However, he does have a 62.5% ground ball rate. With the questions we've got in the middle infield + the new shift rules, I'm a little nervous about his ability to limit hits. We'll see.
I'm not so worried about it as it looks like Story might be able to take of SS later this year, in time for any postseason. And Boston's defense should take a big step forward in '24 with a healthy Story at short.
 

JM3

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Adding Bleier's 89.6 from last year to this, he's not nearly as much of a soft contact guy as their other acquisitions this winter.
He was at 88 in '21 & 86 in '20, so I'm guessing they are hoping to get back to that this year with some tweaks to his pitch mix - probably mostly just more sinker.

I'm surprised how optimistic everyone is about this, though. He could absolutely fail & be DFA'd, but it seems like a reasonable shot to take.
 
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greek_gawd_of_walks

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Balky Bleier? I remember his brother
Interesting (or maybe not) sidenote. A block and a half from me is a bar now known as McGuiness. Back in the day, Rocky Bleier's family owned the building and lived above the bar in the upstairs apartment. Appropriately, it was called Bleier's. Evidently, his folks used to leave him in the crib when he was baby while they slung drinks to degenerate Wisconsinites. If they thought they heard anything coming from upstairs, they'd have everyone hush up and listen for the sound of crying before going back to business.
 
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chawson

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Adding Bleier's 89.6 from last year to this, he's not nearly as much of a soft contact guy as their other acquisitions this winter.
Viewed another way his soft contact stuff looks pretty good, though maybe not reflected in the aggregate EV.

If you look at balls in play hit under 88 m.p.h. exit velocity as a percentage of total balls in play, Bleier ranks 9th of 473 pitchers. (Kluber ranks 10th).

In other words, of the contact he gives up, a very high percentage of it is soft (and on the ground). Though occasionally there are rockets.
 

Niastri

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Viewed another way his soft contact stuff looks pretty good, though maybe not reflected in the aggregate EV.

If you look at balls in play hit under 88 m.p.h. exit velocity as a percentage of total balls in play, Bleier ranks 9th of 473 pitchers. (Kluber ranks 10th).

In other words, of the contact he gives up, a very high percentage of it is soft (and on the ground). Though occasionally there are rockets.
Even a very hard hit ground ball goes for a double or triple, not a home run.
 

nvalvo

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He could absolutely fail & be DFA'd, but it seems like a reasonable shot to take.
This was a pretty likely outcome for Barnes, too.

The case for Barnes was basically: he's a league average reliever getting paid like a good setup man, but hey, it's a sunk cost, and maybe the league will let him cheat again and he'll return to being great.

Bleier is also just decent, but he's paid accordingly, and his handedness complements the other guys we have. And maybe that few million in savings improves the final up-the-middle player we can afford to acquire.