The Blue Jays have begun to address their biggest need.
Toronto announced Saturday the team has acquired New York Mets reliever Jacob Barnes in exchange for minor league pitcher Troy Miller.
In 18.2 innings pitched this season at the big league level, Barnes has posted a 6.28 ERA and 6.22 FIP. While the righty's K/BB ration of 18-to-five is solid, home runs have plagued him so far, with six long balls against in just 19 appearances.
Barnes was designated for assignment earlier this week, as the Mets called up former Blue Jay Sean Reid-Foley to take his spot in the major league bullpen.
Barnes joins a Blue Jays pen in desperate need of consistent and healthy arms. The 31-year-old has been a reliable arm at the big league level, posting full seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2016-2018. Since leaving the Brewers, where he had a 3.93 ERA in 167 innings, Barnes has failed to post a season ERA under 5.5.
Barnes features mainly a 94-MPH fastball and 89-MPH cutter that account for almost 95% of his pitches. In 2021, Barnes has been able to induce an 84th percentile chase rate while keeping his walks down, but has struggled with opponents squaring him up. With the Mets, Barnes has posted one of the worst barrel-rates of his career and an xSLG of .510.
Miller, who heads to the Mets in the transaction, is a minor league starter/reliever with appearances in Double- and Single-A this season. In 14.2 IP with the A+ Vancouver, Miller posted a 1.84 ERA and struck out 10.4-per-nine, earning a promotion to New Hampshire.
The trade isn't the flashy move for an established late-inning reliever that many fans would hope for, but with the recent erraticism of Toronto relievers, Barnes could offer a reliable strike-throwing option.