Boston Red Sox: 3 players that failed to meet expectations this season

Adam Ottavino #0 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Adam Ottavino #0 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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Boston Red Sox
Matt Barnes #32 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox player who failed to meet expectations No. 3: Matt Barnes

Coming into the season, expectations weren’t necessarily high for Matt Barnes. He was tabbed as the closer for the second straight season despite not being overly successful in the same role during 2020. There was definitely some skepticism surrounding Barnes and whether or not he would be able to hold up in the ninth inning for the Sox.

For the first half of the season, Barnes silenced his critics in quite commanding fashion. He earned his first ever All Star appearance after picking up 19 saves and holding a crisp 2.68 ERA during the first half of the season. Barnes ERA would drop all the way down to 2.25 before everything unraveled in August.

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Barnes went from being the stalwart at the back of the bullpen to being left off the ALCS roster in the postseason. He came into the season with limited expectations, raised the bar impressively, and then reverted back to his inconsistent ways of the past. It was a whirlwind of a season for Barnes, and it has left Red Sox fans everywhere wondering what his future holds with the team.

Barnes finished the season with OK numbers (6-5, 3.79 ERA, 24 SV, 84 K), but the fact that he was left off of both the initial postseason rosters (he was added as an injury replacement in the ALDS) should pretty much tell you what you need to know about Barnes’ season. Manager Alex Cora really could not justify using Barnes, who was either blowing leads or getting outs in an extremely painful manner.

For a point in time this season, it seemed like Boston has found their closer for the next few seasons. Instead, they are almost certainly going to be looking for a new closer this offseason. Barnes met expectations early on, but his failure to do so in the second half of the season killed the bullpen, and for that reason, he finds his way onto this list.