Boston Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom is betting that the future of younger less accomplished relievers is better than what lies ahead for Matt Barnes.

Boston cut ties with its former All-Star closer on Tuesday to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Adam Duvall, who the Red Sox officially signed after coming to an agreement last week.

The Red Sox now have seven days to waive, trade or release Barnes.

“Obviously a really, really difficult decision. The conversation itself was one of the more difficult ones I’ve had,” Bloom said. “The DFA process has to play itself out, so there’s a limited amount I want to say about it until it does. More than anything, this is a function of where we’re at in the offseason and with our 40-man roster. There were no easy decisions.”

Barnes posted good numbers last season (1.59 ERA in 22 2/3 innings in his last 24 games) after returning from a long stint on the injured list.

Cutting Barnes allowed the Red Sox to keep unproven relievers Kaleb Ort and Wyatt Mills, who are both younger and have options.


“Obviously everyone knows what his accomplishments are and how much he’s meant to this organization,” Bloom said. “I’ve talked numerous times over the years about how highly I regard him. It just gets to being forward-looking to everyone else on our roster. Whether it’s things they’ve showed about where they’re at, or in the case of (Ryan) Brasier, who has been through some ups and downs, but finished the season really strong. He showed a lot. When you project it out ahead, it’s really encouraging. Some of those younger relievers have options, more control and … have plenty of upsides.”

“Sometimes the easy way out is to trade someone who doesn’t have a shiny ERA, who just got whacked around and doesn’t have a lot under their belt, even when all the indicators say that’s the wrong move,” Bloom continued. “Usually when you do that, the game will punish you. This was not an easy move, but one that we felt was the right one. It wasn’t anything bad about Matt, who I’m sure is going to continue to have success in his career. It was a reflection of where we thought we were and how we saw the pen coming together and what those other guys have a chance to do for us.”

Barnes, who made his debut in 2014, was the longest-tenured member of the Red Sox. Boston is on the hook for the $9.75 million (his $7.5 million salary in 2023 and a $2.25 million buyout on a 2024 club option) remaining on the two-year, $18.75 million extension he signed in July 2021.

HALL OF FAME VOTING: Only one player, Scott Rolen, made the cut to earn induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. Meanwhile, many more players found themselves on the ballot for the final time.

In total, 12 players dropped off the ballot after failing to generate enough votes, including five former Red Sox players: pitcher Bronson Arroyo (spent 2003-05 with Red Sox); pitcher John Lackey (2010-14); catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli (2013-15); outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2007-13); infielder Jhonny Peralta (2017, never actually played in a game in Boston).

Arroyo, Lackey and Napoli each received a single vote, while Ellsbury and Peralta go no votes. Players needed 292 ballots (75% of votes) to earn induction. Players needed roughly 20 or more votes to stay on the ballot.


Arroyo spent three seasons with the Red Sox, helping the team on its historic 2004 World Series run. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds following the 2005 season, and made his lone All-Star team in 2006.

Napoli also played three seasons in Boston, arriving in 2013 to help the team win its third World Series of the century. Napoli started his career as a catcher before switching to first base, where he built a reputation as a sturdy right-handed power hitter.

Lackey is a one-time All-Star best known for his time with the Angels, when he led the league in ERA in 2007. In 2010, he joined the Red Sox as part of a roller-coaster run, and helped the team win a World Series in 2013.

Ellsbury won a World Series in his first year in Boston (2007) as well as his last (2013) before joining the New York Yankees. He’s a one-time All-Star who led the league in steals three times.

Peralta is a three-time All-Star who played for the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals. The Red Sox signed Peralta in June of 2013. However, he never played in a game with the Red Sox and was released less than a month later in July.

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