The Royals have claimed 29-year old right-handed pitcher Jacob Barnes off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers and have optioned him to Triple-A Omaha. Barnes has split time between the Brewers and Triple-A this year and has a 6.86 ERA in 18 relief appearances with 22 strikeouts and 11 walks in 19 2⁄3 innings. He has 167 Major League appearances over the last four years and has a 3.93 ERA in 167 innings with 9.4 strikeouts-per-nine innings and 3.9 walks-per-nine innings.
Barnes was originally a 14th-round pick by the Brewers in 2011, selected out of Florida Gulf Coast University, where he was teammates with Chris Sale. His career in the minors really took off once he moved to the bullpen full-time, and he reached the big leagues in 2016 at the age of 26. His best year came in 2017 when he made 73 appearances for the Brewers and posted a 4.00 ERA and a 3.88 FIP with 80 strikeouts in 72 innings.
Barnes has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, down a bit from 2017 where he was averaging 97 mph on his heater. He is a fastball/slider pitcher with a career groundball rate of 50.5 percent. Barnes was designated for assignment by the Brewers on Thursday to make room for outfield prospect Trent Grisham, and is in his last option year. He could be eligible for arbitration after next season, and would not be a free agent until after the 2022 season.
Barnes provides a bit more bullpen depth, and with many teams putting players on waivers following the trade deadline, the Royals should be scooping guys up and auditioning them. The Royals now have 36 players on their 40-man roster.