The Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization announced they’ve signed left-hander Charlie Barnes. The former Minnesota Twins southpaw will receive a $610K guarantee, according to Jeeho Yoo of Yonhap. (Brandon Warne of Access Twins was first to report Barnes was signing with Lotte).
A fourth-round pick out of Clemson in 2017, Barnes steadily progressed through the Twins system. He reached the big leagues this year, ultimately making nine appearances (eight starts) for Minnesota down the stretch. He posted a 5.92 ERA over 38 innings while only striking out 11.4% of opposing hitters. After the season, the Twins outrighted Barnes off their 40-man roster.
While it wasn’t an illustrious debut showing, the 26-year-old has generally been effective throughout his minor league tenure. He owns an ERA below 4.00 at every stop through Double-A, and while he struggled during a brief end-of-season stint at Triple-A in 2019, he’d been better there this past season. Barnes tossed 76 innings with the Twins’ top affiliate in St. Paul, posting a 3.79 ERA. That came with a below-average 19.1% strikeout percentage, but Barnes’ 7.4% walk rate and 46.7% ground-ball rate were each a bit better than the league average.
That showing was enough to attract the attention of the Busan-based Giants. While Barnes didn’t have the requisite service time to reject the Twins’ outright assignment, the organization evidently granted him his release to make the move to South Korea. That allows the South Carolina native to lock in a guaranteed salary for 2022 that’s better than he’d have made during his time in Triple-A. If Barnes performs well enough in the KBO to embark upon a major league return at some point down the line, he might also field MLB offers that surpass the near-league minimum salaries he’d have earned over his first few seasons had he remained with Minnesota.
In addition to the Barnes deal, the Giants also confirmed their previously-reported agreement with Glenn Sparkman. As Yoo points out, Barnes, Sparkman and DJ Peters are now locked in as the Giants’ three allotted foreign-born players. That officially closes the books on any chance of Dan Straily and Enderson Franco — both of whom pitched for the Giants last year — returning to the club in 2022.