3. Matt Barnes – 2 Years, $17 Million Remaining (Plus 2024 Option)
There are larger deals for longer periods of time on this list for sure. But nobody wants Matt Barnes, who has actively clogged up the back end of the Red Sox bullpen (and rotation, somewhat) with his ill-timed extension, making him both an essential member of the roster and a constant drag.
For whatever reason, spendthrift executive Chaim Bloom rewarded the erratic Barnes in the middle of his lone All-Star season, locking in his dominant closer for 2022 and 2023 (plus a buyout) … just before he started to regress again, pitching himself out of a bullpen role by October. That’s very difficult to do.
Barnes’ new deal came at his apex, and it’s hitting NOW, at his ultimate valley. You have to be as bad as Barnes for a short-term extension to hit a list like this. In 8.0 innings last July, Barnes finished seven games and posted a 1.13 ERA. In 6.2 August innings that followed the deal, he allowed 10 earned runs to the tune of a 13.50 mark with a 2.70 WHIP. In 2022, he’s already been worth -0.7 WAR, hoisting a 6.59 ERA up the flagpole in 16 appearances.
And, what’s worse, his struggles made secret weapon Garrett Whitlock essential in the bullpen … so when he moved to the rotation, the entire thing destabilized (including Whitlock, who’s been less than spotless in longer duty).
Barnes won’t be around forever, but he’s untradeable and uncuttable, thanks to Bloom’s master maneuver.