Texas Rangers: Has Tony Barnette Earned Another Chance?
By Andrew Webb
The Texas Rangers main focus this off-season will be revamping the bullpen and starting rotation. That begins with sorting out the returning players from last season, and players with options like reliever Tony Barnette.
The 2017 season was a struggle for the Texas Rangers bullpen and for reliever Tony Barnette. The 33-year-old had a rough sophomore season, and now the organization must decide whether or not to accept his $4 million team option for 2018.
Barnette went 2-1 posting a 5.49 ERA in 50 games with two saves in 2017. He finished with a -0.2 WAR, and at first glance there is no reason to bring back Barnette. His 2017 numbers shouldn’t be the only stats taken into account though.
In 2016 Barnette went 7-3 with an impressive 2.09 ERA in 53 games. He quickly worked his way up the ladder and became an important part of the Rangers bullpen. Sadly in 2017 that fell apart, but it doesn’t mean the team should abandon Barnette.
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The Rangers originally signed Barnette in 2016 after he spent 2010 through 2015 with the Yakult Swallows in Tokyo. Barnette pitched extremely well in Tokyo, and was able to translate it over during the 2016 campaign.
At the end of the day is Barnette worth his $4 million option? Sadly, after last season it’s hard to believe he’s worth that kind of money. His first two MLB seasons he was making less than $2 million per season.
It’s unacceptable for the Rangers to give that kind of increase in pay to a pitcher who is that inconsistent. Barnette went from a reliable late inning reliever to a borderline back-end pitcher. He’s already 33 years old, and that money could be spent better elsewhere.
If the Rangers can get Barnette to settle around $1 million then he’s worth a shot otherwise don’t bother. The organization has plenty of young arms waiting in the minors that will cost the team less than Barnette.
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It’s frustrating to drop a player after one bad season, but Barnette hasn’t earned that $4 million deal. Allowing 35 earned runs in less than 60 innings is hard to ignore. The Rangers should pass on Barnette’s team option.