Cleveland Guardians acquire reliever Scott Barlow from the Padres

The Guardians have bolstered the back end of their bullpen by acquiring reliever Scott Barlow from the Royals.
Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians were busy Friday, first trading Cal Quantrill to the Colorado Rockies and then later acquiring reliever Scott Barlow from the potentially sinking ship that is the San Diego Padres.

Barlow, 30, is no stranger to Guardians fans, as he spent parts of six seasons with the Kansas City Royals before being traded to the Padres in 2023. He was also one of the best relievers in baseball for years, with a 145 ERA+ through his first five seasons, striking out 314 hitters in 264 innings. Though he struggled in 2023 (he did end up pitching better in San Diego), Barlow still maintains a 3.36 career ERA and 3.29 FIP.

In exchange, Cleveland sent fellow reliever Enyel De Los Santos over to San Diego, which begs the question: Why?

Clearly, the Guardians are looking for more relief help that can pitch in later, high-leverage innings. Barlow has been that guy nearly his entire career, and while De Los Santos has been a very reliable arm for the Guardians the past two seasons (he had a 3.18 ERA in 119 innings), the team is willing to roll the dice for a veteran who has been there before.

Barlow is also expected to make an estimated $7 million through arbitration, so it's not like the Guardians are thinking solely about their payroll issues this offseason - that's a pretty hefty price for a reliever. But at the same time, the team is finally acquiring a veteran reliever to try and take some heat off the likes of Trevor Stephan and Emmanuel Clase next season. If Barlow can essentially just be the pitcher he's always been, the back end of the Guardians' bullpen will be in great shape going into 2024.