It’s almost a year to the day the Cubs signed Barnette to a $750K guarantee on Feb. 1, 2019. The low-risk move didn’t work out for either side, though, as shoulder issues stopped Barnette from pitching until late June. Once Barnette did take the hill with the Cubs, he made just two appearances and threw a meager 1 1/3 innings before going on the restricted list July 1 for family reasons. The Cubs had a $3MM option on the 36-year-old for 2020, but they made the predictable decision to decline it in November.
Prior to joining the Cubs, Barnette was at times a highly successful bullpen option with the Rangers. As a rookie in 2016, Barnette pitched to a sterling 2.09 ERA across 60 1/3 innings. That was the beginning of an up-and-down Texas tenure for Barnette, who struggled in 2017 but posted great numbers the next season; however, shoulder problems cut him down that year and held him to 26 1/3 innings.
Of course, it would be unfair to Barnette to ignore the overseas success he enjoyed during his professional baseball career. He was a 10th-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2006 who, after spending a few years in the minors, joined the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Nippon Professional Baseball in advance of the 2010 season. Barnette was terrific in Japan, where he posted a 3.58 ERA across 316 1/3 innings, logged 9.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 and amassed 97 saves in six seasons before returning stateside.
Barnette only picked up two saves in the majors, but he’ll still end his MLB career with solid numbers – a 3.53 ERA with 8.17 K/9 and 2.66 BB/9 in 145 1/3 frames. MLBTR wishes him the best in retirement.