The Blue Jays announced that right-hander Jacob Barnes has been designated for assignment (hat tip to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith). The move creates roster space so Joakim Soria could be reinstated from the COVID-related injury list, a necessary procedural transaction before Soria hits the free agent market.
Toronto acquired Barnes from the Mets in June, as the Blue Jays were eager to find reinforcements for their struggling bullpen. Barnes didn’t provide many answers, as he posted a 6.30 ERA over only 10 innings with the Jays before being DFA’ed in July and then outrighted off the 40-man roster in August.
While Barnes did have a 30.6% strikeout rate during his brief time with the Jays, he didn’t help his cause by posting a 12.2% walk rate — a reawakening of the control problems that have occasionally hampered Barnes at both the major and minor league levels over the last few years, though his career walk numbers are respectable. Barnes did only allow one homer in a Blue Jays uniform, after surrendering six home runs over just 18 2/3 frames with the Mets earlier this season.
After posting some solid numbers out of the Brewers’ bullpen from 2016-18, Barnes has since posted a 6.58 ERA over 79 1/3 innings for five different teams over the last three seasons. As per Statcast, Barnes has continued to post solidly above-average fastball spin rates throughout his career, but while his four-seam fastball continues to get positive results, he hasn’t had much success with secondary offerings.
Barnes is eligible for arbitration this winter, projected for a $1.2MM salary. The DFA essentially looks like an early non-tender for the Jays, and since Barnes has over three years of MLB service time and has already been outrighted once this season, he can opt for free agency now rather than accept another outright assignment.