Aaron Barrett, 32, and a 2010 ninth Round pick by the Nationals, re-signed with Washington on a minor league deal, according to multiple reports on Thursday, a few weeks after he’d cleared waivers and opted to become a free agent.
Barrett, of course, returned to the majors in 2019, four years after Tommy John surgery, and three years after fracturing his right elbow throwing a pitch off the mound while rehabbing, but he spent the majority of the past summer at the club’s Alternate Training Site in Virginia, before he was called back up to the majors in mid-September.
“He’s been here before,” manager Davey Martinez said after Barrett returned to the bullpen in the nation’s capital. “He’s a veteran guy, he’s throwing the ball well down there, so he was the guy we chose. I like that he understands what we’re trying to do here, and I know he can help us, especially against right-handed hitters. So, we chose Aaron, I love him, he brings a lot of energy, he’s a great guy, great teammates, so happy that he’s back.”
Barrett made just two appearances in the majors, however, before he was lifted during his second outing with what was later diagnosed as a triceps strain.
“He wanted to stay in the game, and I couldn’t be able to live with myself if I left him in the game,” manager Davey Martinez said that night. “We wanted to be smart, took him out.”
Barrett didn’t have time to return to the mound in the majors with the injury coming as it did shortly before the end of the regular season, and the Nationals didn’t make it to the playoffs.
This is the third time Barrett has briefly left the organization, and then returned to the only team he’s known as a professional.
Barrett told The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli yesterday that he’s looking forward to being another pitcher at Spring Training after all the time dealing with injuries over the last few seasons, telling the reporter he was, “looking forward to being that normal guy, normal pitcher this spring ... [t]hat guy who could go every day if you need me to.”
He also revealed, in The Athletic story, that film director Jeff Unay, whose credits include visual effects work on movies like The Lovely Bones, Avatar, and King Kong as well as the documentary The Cage Fighter (2017) which he directed, will be making a documentary film about Barrett.
In addition to the veteran reliever, infielders Adrian Sánchez and Brandon Snyder signed on to return to the organization on Thursday on minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training.