Barnes was recently released by the Tigers. The righty cracked Detroit’s Opening Day roster after signing a minors pact over the winter, but the 2022 campaign has been a struggle. He tossed 20 2/3 innings across 22 outings but managed only a 6.10 ERA. Barnes’ 11.2% strikeout rate was the third-lowest mark among relievers with 20+ frames, and Detroit designated him for assignment last week.
Rough start notwithstanding, he’s a sensible depth add for the Mariners. Barnes’ lack of swing-and-miss in Detroit was surprising, as he’s typically been solid at missing bats. He fanned 25.8% of opponents last season between the Mets and Blue Jays. He’s two years removed from punching out over 30% of batters faced on a massive 15.2% swinging strike rate with the Angels. Control inconsistency and a propensity for hard contact led to grisly ERA totals in both seasons, but the swing-and-miss potential made him an intriguing middle innings option.
Barnes is still throwing his fastball (95.3 MPH) and cutter (88.9 MPH) quite hard, and the latter offering continued to miss bats at a decent rate this year. The four-seam was a major issue for Barnes in Detroit, but the M’s will take a no-risk look to see if they can tweak that offering to find better success.