Diamondbacks right-handed reliever Jake Barrett showed some promise out of the pen in 2016, but his time in the desert is over.
The Diamondbacks designated reliever Jake Barrett for assignment last week in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Greg Holland. Holland’s one year, $3.25MM deal comes with an opportunity for high-leverage innings – or even a stable closer’s role – but there’s always a domino effect, and in this case, Barrett is the casualty.
A couple of days after Barrett was DFA’ed, the Giants traded for him, saving the Dbacks some cash in the deal, per MLB.com’s Maria Guardado. Barrett’s Dbacks career had run its course after some promising innings in 2016, so even getting some cash out of the deal proves a win for the Dbacks. Outfielder John Andreoli hit waivers to make room for Barrett in San Francisco.
Which makes the Giants subsequent DFA of Barrett particularly painful for Andreoli, who is pushed off the 40-man roster for a guy who soon after gets pushed off the 40-man roster. The Giants DFA’ed Barrett to add Hanser Alberto, another guy who’s moved around quite a bit via the waiver wire this offseason.
Barrett, meanwhile, has been claimed once again, this time by the Pirates, who moved righty Chad Kuhl to the 60-day IL to make room. Kuhl, 26, has been a relatively reliable, if unspectacular part of the Pirates rotation the past two seasons. He’ll make his way back onto the 40-man when he returns from injury, but Barrett seems to have found a home at least for the time being.
With the Diamondbacks, Barrett simply ran out of chances. The 27-year-old was solid in 2016 across 68 appearances out of the pen. He struck out 8.5 batters per nine innings while walking 4.2 per nine. Barrett’s 2017 wasn’t too far off, but he continued to struggle with control while he home run rate ballooned as he surrendered 7 home runs in just 27 innings (2.3 HR/9).
Barrett only made 7 appearances with the big league club last year, though he proved capable with Triple-A Reno. He threw 53 1/3 innings in 42 appearances, good for an impressive 2.87 ERA with an even better 11.3 K/9. Still, the control problems persisted with 4.9 BB/9. Being able to work his way out of trouble in Triple-A is not usually the skill that translates best to the majors.
Jake Barrett was a fungible right-handed bullpen arm that just ran out of opportunity with the Diamondbacks – and then much more quickly with the Giants. With a fastball around 90, 91 mph and a history of being unable to limit the free passes, the future doesn’t look over-bright for Barrett. But maybe the Pirates see something in him that they can tweak, or maybe he just needs more time to grow. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks no longer had any time to give.