Indians Ink Outfielder Barnes to Minor League Pact
Bob Toth | On 28, Nov 2017
The Cleveland Indians added another minor league depth piece to the roster on Monday when the club agreed to a minor league contract with free agent outfielder Brandon Barnes, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo.
The deal, pending a physical, had not yet been formally announced by the Tribe front office.
Barnes, nicknamed Superman, covered in tattoos, and described over the years as a gritty player not afraid to get dirty, becomes the fifth minor offseason addition by the Indians. The team recently added added pitchers Jeff Beliveau and Leonel Campos (who each spent time in the Majors with Toronto last season) and utility man Drew Maggi (who played during the 2017 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate) on minor league deals with non-roster invites to spring training. They also claimed another utility man, Rob Refsnyder (who split 2017 between the New York Yankees and Blue Jays organizations), via waivers and added him to the 40-man roster.
It is presumed that the deal with Barnes will include a non-roster invitation to spring training in February.
Barnes, 31, spent last season with the Miami Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans. He appeared in 109 games for the Baby Cakes, slashing .276/.331/.420 with 22 doubles, 2 triples, 11 homers, and 49 RBI.
He was a sixth round selection by the Houston Astros in the 2005 amateur draft out of Cypress College. He debuted for the Astros in 2012, hitting .204 in 43 games that season, and was a regular for the club as it hopped leagues to the AL West in 2013, hitting .240 that season with eight homers and 40 RBI.
Barnes was dealt to the Colorado Rockies following the season and again saw regular work on the field, appearing in 132 games in 2014 while batting .257. He hit .251 in 106 games in 2015 for the Rockies and spent time back at the Triple-A level for the first time since 2012. He put in more time at Triple-A for the Rockies’ Albuquerque affiliate in 2016 than he did with the parent club and was released at the end of the minor league schedule.
He signed with the Marlins last December, but failed to appear at the big league level for the first time since 2011.
Barnes can play all three outfield spots, with the heaviest of his lifting coming in center field. He grades out as a good defender, but strikeouts have plagued the offensive side of his game throughout his career. Despite hitting 28 homers in 2010 and 21 in 2011 in the minors, power has never been a part of his game in the Majors, as he has a total of 19 homers over his five seasons in the Show and has never amassed more than eight in a single season.
The offensive side of his game might not be his strong suit, but it has not prevented him from some unique accomplishments at the plate. He hit for the cycle while with the Astros on July 19, 2013, and he has two inside-the-park home runs to his credit at the big league level, with the pair coming less than ten days apart for his first two homers of the 2014 season while with the Rockies.
While the Indians were adding Barnes, the club was also losing a pair of pitchers. Kyle Crockett (Cincinnati) and Dylan Baker (Milwaukee) were each claimed on waivers after being designated for assignment a week earlier by Cleveland to make room for a wave of prospects and the club’s own waiver claim on Refsnyder.
Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images