Free agency officially began yesterday for all players, both at the major and minor league level. The Milwaukee Nine waved goodbye to two players who were a part of their big league bullpen in 2016 (Chris Capuano and Blaine Boyer) as well as another 16 players who filed for minor league free agency, according to Baseball America. Earlier this evening, the Brewers announced via Twitter that they had re-signed one of those free agents: right-hander Yhonathan Barrios, who will receive an invitation to major league spring training.
Barrios began his career in the Pirates organization after signing as an international free agent out of Colombia in 2009. He spent most of his first four professional seasons as a light-hitting infielder (.618 OPS in 478 PA at the rookie and low-A levels) before converting to the mound in 2013. Barrios worked his way up to AAA by 2015, when he was sent to the Brewers in exchange for Aramis Ramirez and cash in late July.
The soon-to-be 25 year old made his major league debut with Milwaukee in September of 2015. Armed with a fastball in the upper-90s and decent changeup, Barrios tossed 6.2 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and zero walks. He entered Spring Training 2016 with a chance to break camp in the Brewers’ bullpen, but injured his shoulder and wound up missing the entire season after undergoing rotator cuff surgery in April. He was outrighted to AAA last week before electing to become a free agent.
Barring any major setbacks, Barrios should be ready for the start of next season, though he’ll now face an uphill battle back to the big leagues after losing his spot on the 40 man roster. If his velocity returns to his pre-surgery levels, however, he’ll have a fighting chance to make it back to The Show.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference