In a normal year, September 1st means rosters expand from 26 players to 40. In a normal year, players get promoted based on merit, opportunity, and the right to gain experience for the future. In a normal year. COVID protocols has made this anything but a normal year. Instead of filling their dugout with a bunch of fresh arms, and fresh faces, the Washington Nationals added two players. Neither of whom was Aaron Barrett.
Instead of being in Washington waiting for the series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies, Barrett was on the mound at Triple-A Rochester. On this night he would surrender a couple hits, allow a couple of walks, and blow a save in what would be a one run loss to the Worchester Red Sox.
Prior to the outing, Barrett was working on a magical season. Something which would have earned the right hander another late season cup of coffee with the big team. Instead, at 33 years of age, he’ll continue to pitch at the organization’s highest minor league level.
Nationals minor leaguer Aaron Barrett was deserving of a promotion, were rosters to expand to 40 players.
Barrett is not on the 40-man roster, so there is that minor obstacle. Given he was, and the Nationals were allowed to add more than two players, Barrett would be deserving of a promotion. With the Nationals struggling at 55-76, these call ups are all about the future. Players who are a part of the rebuild, players who the organization needs to evaluate, players who are a part of the future. Barrett doesn’t fit any of these categories.
The luxury of having so many players on the bench, not all of them have to be about evaluation purposes. One spot can go to a lifetime organizational guy. A guy who battled back from Tommy John surgery to get to the summit once again. Someone who has toiled in the minors and mentored younger pitchers. One, Aaron Barrett.
I get it. Baseball is a business. While it may make a good story to give Barrett a late season trip to the bigs for a third straight season, he has also earned it. Prior to his last performance, he had pitched 28 innings across three levels. His WHIP was under one and his ERA was just above it. He hadn’t allowed a home run all year and struck out 38, well over one an inning.
Barrett is back with the team who drafted him in 2010, on a minor league contract. He may not get another chance to pitch in the majors. Aaron Barrett was deserving of a promotion. In a normal year, he gets it.