Barraclough gave up two solo home runs and walked a batter in 0.2 innings during Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals. While Sean Doolittle's meltdown later in the game drew most of the attention, Barraclough's own struggles set the stage for it. The right-hander had been cruising this spring before this outing, posting a 0.00 ERA and 5:2 K:BB through his first six innings, and if Saturday's usage is any indication, he'll begin the regular season as the Nats' seventh-inning setup man ahead of Trevor Rosenthal and Sean Doolittle, a role that could make Barraclough a valuable source of holds.
Barraclough lost his arbitration case Friday, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports. Barraclough had filed for $2 million but will wind up making $1.725 million instead. The 28-year-old has shown flashes of upside thus far in his career and picked up 10 saves for the Marlins last season, but his strikeout rate fell to an unexciting 24.5 percent while his walk rate remained worryingly high at 13.9 percent, leading to an October trade to Washington. He's not expected to be part of the closer conversation for his new club unless Sean Doolittle struggles with injuries.
Barraclough was traded to Washington from Miami on Wednesday in exchange for international bonus pool money, Dan Kolko of MASN Sports reports. Barraclough had a rough second half with the Marlins in 2018, logging a 13.50 ERA and 2.48 WHIP across 13.1 innings dating back to July 21. The right-hander missed a few weeks with back stiffness during that stretch. On the flip side, he posted a 1.28 ERA over 44 appearances in the first half and should provide the Nationals with a solid middle-to-late option out of the bullpen moving forward. Barraclough still has three more years of club control on his contract.
Barraclough (0-6) blew the save and took the loss Thursday, recording just one out and allowing two solo home runs in a 4-3 loss to the Mets in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Adam Conley retired the first batter in the ninth before the Marlins called on Barraclough to protect a one-run lead Thursday. Instead, he absorbed the defeat: After inducing a Dominic Smith groundout, he served up back-to-back homers to Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier. The 28-year-old has blown his last four save chances, making him 10-for-17 this season.
Barraclough (back) threw a simulated game Wednesday, Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald reports. Barraclough hit the disabled list Friday with lower-back stiffness. He's eligible to return Sunday, and the fact that he's back throwing suggests that he has a shot to do so, though a timetable has not yet been announced.