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Phillies, Jacob Barnes Agree To Minor League Deal


The Phillies are in agreement with veteran reliever Jacob Barnes on a minor league contract, tweets Matt Gelb of the Athletic. Philadelphia also released Louis Head from a non-roster pact of his own.

Barnes joins his second organization of the season. The right-hander inked a non-roster deal with Texas over the winter. He pitched 13 times for their top affiliate in Round Rock, working to a 2.21 ERA across 20 1/3 innings. That was built on the back of a strong 52.3% ground-ball percentage but belied a modest 17.5% strikeout rate and slightly elevated 10.3% walk percentage. Texas never gave him an MLB look and released him last week.

Not too long thereafter, Barnes finds a new landing spot in search of an eighth straight season with some MLB action. An effective middle innings arm with the Brewers early in his career, the 33-year-old has fallen on tougher times of late. He’s posted a 5.50 ERA or higher in each of the past four seasons. That includes a 5.64 mark over 22 1/3 frames between the Tigers and Yankees last season. Barnes had more success in Triple-A and averaged north of 95 MPH on his fastball at the MLB level, though, so it’s little surprise he’s gotten a number of looks as a depth option.

Philadelphia’s bullpen entered play Tuesday ranked 16th in the majors with a 4.11 ERA. They’re ninth in strikeout rate (25.5%) but have the game’s eighth-highest walk percentage (10.3%). Barnes is out of minor league options, so if he cracks the MLB mix at any point, the Phils would have to keep him on the big league club or designate him for assignment.

As for Head, he spent the year with Triple-A Lehigh Valley after signing a minor league deal over the winter. He was tattooed for 14 runs in 11 2/3 innings there, walking 15 batters and allowing four home runs. It’s hardly surprising the Phils never called him up given those struggles. Head tossed 28 2/3 MLB frames between the Marlins and Orioles last season. He goes back to free agency in hopes of finding an opportunity to right the ship.

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