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Former UConn pitcher and Bethel native Matt Barnes was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.
The Red Sox made the move in order to make room on the roster for incoming free-agent outfielder Adam Duvall. The team has seven days from when it made the designation to either trade Barnes or place him on irrevocable waivers.
Barnes, 32, had been the longest-tenured member of the Red Sox, having made his debut in 2014. He earned that distinction after the much-maligned front office led by Chaim Bloom failed to re-sign shortstop Xander Bogaerts this offseason.
In nine years with the Red Sox, Barnes posted a 32-30 record, all as a reliever outside of two starts in 2015, and a 4.07 ERA.
Last season, he was 0-4 with a 4.31 ERA. He was up-and-down in his Red Sox career, though at times dominant, and pitched well in the closer’s role in 2021. That season, he was named an All-Star and saved a career-best 24 games while posting a 3.79 ERA.
He also helped Boston win the World Series title in 2018, pitching to a career-best 3.65 ERA. In the postseason that year, he gave up just one run in 8 2/3 innings.
“Obviously a really, really difficult decision,” said Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, according to MLB.com. “The conversation itself [with Barnes] was one of the more difficult ones that I’ve had.
“But, you know, I think more than anything, this is just a function of where we’re at in the offseason and with our 40-man roster. There are no easy decisions and regardless of recent accomplishments, regardless of what they have under their belts in their careers, everybody on our 40-man roster has real value.
“That forces tough choices, and it’s obviously something we’ve been working through all offseason. And today we landed on Matt, but beyond that, it’s certainly nothing negative about him. I think it’s more a statement of where we’re at with the 40-man roster.”
Barnes was drafted by the Red Sox out of UConn with the 19th overall pick in 2011.
He was due to make $7.5 million in 2023, which was the final year of his contract.