The last-minute Thanksgiving shopper might be looking for gravy, cranberry sauce, or herbs of some kind. Orioles EVP Dan Duquette is looking for lefty relievers at all times. On Wednesday, the Orioles picked up Scott Barnes from the Cleveland organization. They also officially announced the signing of Rey Navarro, which was previously pending a physical. This news broke by press release.
Who is Barnes? The 27-year-old has appeared briefly in two major league seasons, racking up a 5.20 ERA in 22 relief appearances between 2012 and 2013. He did not get any time at the big league level in 2014, although with Triple-A Columbus he did get into 25 games with a 3.69 ERA. All but one of the games he pitched was in relief.
Often, the Orioles press release announcing this kind of acquisition will highlight some kind of split or other statistic that indicates what interested the team about a particular player. For instance, the Navarro portion of the release touts his batting line against right-handed pitching. There is no such indication for Barnes, although as a lefty reliever you can probably figure they hope he'll get out lefty batters.
Duquette relayed to Orioles reporters that Barnes "has a good arm and sharp slider that he uses to get out both left- and right-handed hitters." It's nice to think so, but if Barnes was all of that, the O's likely wouldn't be able to just pilfer him from Cleveland for a little bit of cash. Still, maybe there's something the O's think they can refine into a more useful player. It wouldn't be the first time, though if Barnes amounts to nothing, that wouldn't be the first time a fringe acquisition meant nothing, either.
This is the second left-handed reliever the O's have acquired this offseason. The other was Pat McCoy, a waiver claim from Detroit. Could be competition for Brian Matusz, or, if I'm lucky, a replacement.