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Red Sox, Matt Barnes Agree to 2-Year Contract Extension with Option in 2024

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 11, 2021

Boston Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes (32) delivers against the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 4, 2021, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)
AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron

The Boston Red Sox announced Sunday they agreed to a two-year contract extension with closer Matt Barnes:

Red Sox @RedSox

Here to stay! <br><br>The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RedSox?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RedSox</a> today signed RHP Matt Barnes to a two-year contract extension that spans the 2022-23 seasons, with a club option for 2024. <a href="https://t.co/qHMrGPQMo8">pic.twitter.com/qHMrGPQMo8</a>

The deal also includes a team option for a third year in 2024. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe first reported the proposed deal.

Joel Sherman @Joelsherman1

Matt Barnes and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RedSox?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RedSox</a> have a deal for 2 yrs, $18.75M that with escalators can become 3 yrs at $26.5M

Barnes is in the midst of a breakout 2021 season, earning his first All-Star selection thanks to a 2.68 ERA and 19 saves over the first half of the year. He entered Sunday with 62 strikeouts with only 10 walks in 37 innings.

Nearly every number is a personal best for Barnes, who had a 4.08 ERA entering this season across seven years with the Red Sox.

Cutting down walks has been a huge change for the reliever, throwing just 2.4 per nine innings this season after averaging 4.2 per nine innings entering the year.

The adjustments elevated Barnes from middle reliever to closer to one of the best pitchers in the American League. As a pending free agent, the 31-year-old likely would have been in high demand on the open market.

Boston ensured he wouldn't leave town, with a new deal that will keep him for at least another two years. It's well-deserved after helping the team sit in first place heading into the All-Star break.

Kenley Jansen will now headline the thin upcoming class of free-agent relievers.