Photo Credit: Portland Press Herald

Last season a surprise surfaced in Portland for the Red Sox organization.  Long time minor league slugger Jeremy Barfield blossomed. A hope springs eternal for spring training.

There are baseball nomads and sometimes they get their shot.  This past spring training the Red Sox had two in camp and both have gone in different directions.  Both are 29-years-old and one pitches and the other hits. Marcus Walden finally reached the majors for a cup of coffee and a refill. Jeremy Barfield is gone after hitting just .132 with Pawtucket (AAA).

Barfield is a latter-day Pedro Cerrano of the movie “Major League” fame.  A powerful right-hand slugger who never quite placed the whole package together for his shot. Barfield surfaced several times at the Triple-A level but never impressed enough to stay around. Double-A seemed to be Barfield’s Peter Principle.

In 2017 the Red Sox brought Barfield aboard from the Sugar Land Skeeters – a team in Independent league baseball. Barfield went to Portland (AA) and hit with power. The final tally was 27 home runs in just 92 games. A sleeper? Did the son of former MLB stand out Jesse Barfield finally put it all together?

The feel-good stories proliferated and I did write one.  Everyone likes a gamer who won’t quit and still holds onto the dream. I drew a connection to former Red Sox Jeff Bailey who finally made it – ever so briefly – to “The Show.” Obviously, the curtain closes on the Barfield production at Pawtucket.

Barfield was offered a return to Portland, but refused and was released. Will he sign elsewhere?  There is always space in the independent leagues where a Barfield will prosper. The pitching is far more mistake prone, control inhibited, and less of a puzzle the lower you go on the baseball ladder. Barfield traditionally thrives in that environment.

The feel-good did not end as Barfield and a good portion of the baseball public expected.  But maybe the story is not over? Maybe Barfield will get another shot and another. What is known is Double-A is his high water mark.

 

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