Because the Chicago Cubs are obvious sellers, and because we’ve already heard repeatedly that the Cubs are willing to listen on virtually any player on the roster, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Cubs are receiving interest on second baseman Darwin Barney.

Ken Rosenthal reports today that “[r]ival clubs frequently ask about Barney, but none has offered value that the Cubs consider sufficient for a regular second baseman.” He says we shouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs ultimately trade Barney.

Barney, 26, is having the best offensive season of his career, and is one of the better defensive second basemen in baseball. His .272/.319/.392 line doesn’t look like much, but it’s actually above average for starting second basemen this year. The Cubs would probably be quite content to hold onto Barney for the next few years, given that he’s emerged as a league average or better second baseman (I know, I can barely believe it myself), and he’s cheaply under control for some time yet.

But they also have to strongly consider making a deal for the very same reason. Barney has obvious value, and the Cubs might be able to replace him internally by 2013/2014. Those are the kinds of guys you have to consider dealing, even if you love them. And, let’s be honest: his offensive “surge” could be a fluke, and he could easily finish out his career as a great utility player, but nothing more.

The other reason to strongly consider trading Barney? I have no doubt that he could be a league average defensive shortstop (not just a second baseman), if not better. And with his newly-improved offensive skills, he might actually be an above average overall shortstop. If you’re able to sell him that way, imagine what kind of return an above average, 26-year-old, cheap shortstop could net.

I doubt Barney could bring back a top 100 prospect on his own, but if he were bundled with a pitcher to a team that needs a middle infielder? That could a package attractive enough to really net the Cubs the kind of haul to which they couldn’t say no.

(Baseball Reference is still working out the defensive aspect of its WAR formula, so I wouldn’t put much into this, but Barney is currently the sixth most valuable offensive player in all of baseball according to bWAR, at 3.2. FanGraphs has him at a more reasonable, but still very good, 1.2, good for 90th.)

  • Fishin Phil

    I like Barney, but sell high!

  • Kyle

    A 2nd-year service time player who is in his prime and is clearly an above-average player at his position, including near-elite defense?

    That’s the kind of player we should be trying desperately to acquire. There’s no positional glut.

    I don’t see the point in trading him unless some team severely overpays.

    • Brett

      *IF* a team sees him as all of those things, but as a shortstop, there could easily be a point in trading him.

      • Kyle

        And who plays 2b for the 2013-15 Cubs? Junior Lake, I guess?

        It sure feels like self-inflicting more holes, as if we don’t have enough of them.

        • Luke

          Adrian Cardenas, Luis Valbuena, and Logan Watkins would all make more sense than Lake.  I don’t see Lake being converted to a second baseman.  In the latter part of that window Rubi Silva and Zeke DeVoss could be options.

          • Kyle

            I don’t see a whole lot of things I like on that list.

            I’m not particularly impressed with the “let’s see how many AAA infielders we can scrape together off the waiver wire and pretend one of them has MLB starting potential,” so that knocks off Cardenas and Valbuena.

            As I’ve noted before, I’m a huge DeVoss skeptic. Congrats, you are a college kid who can slap-hit and draw walks against recent HS grads in short-season A. Advanced pitching will likely continue to expose him.

            Silva and Watkins kind of intrigue me a little bit of prospects. Every organization has several guys like them at each position. But the whole point of them is that you hope once in awhile one turns into Darwin Barney. The mystery box might contain a boat, but I’d rather just keep the boat.

            • MikeW

              Yeah i really agree with this.

            • JulioZuleta

              I get your point that Barney is the type of player we should be trying to acquire. However, maybe the Cubs, like me, think that he is playing above his head right now and will come down to Earth pretty soon. If there’s another front office that is willing to overpay for his services, there’s not reason not to explore a trade.

              One thing I feel is often forgotten by many posters (not saying you Kyle) is that free agency still does exist. While the they are absolutely trying to stockpile young talent in the minors, the Cubs still are a very large market team with lots of money. If the Cubs can produce more cheap, homegrown talent than we have in the past, there will be extra resources available to buy players in their prime.

              • Kyle

                Out of curiosity, what makes you think he’s playing over his head? His peripherals support his offense quite nicely.

                • CubFan Paul

                  His SLG is abnormally high, more than likely from his visit to camp Colvin (or roids). He’s one missed cycle away from slugging .330 and being below average offensively again (.660 ops)

            • Derrick

              Love the Family Guy reference!

        • CubFan Paul

          If Darwin barney is the starting 2B for the Cubs in 2013-15 i’ll shoot myself

          • Jack Weiland

            This seems somewhat extreme.

          • LWeb23

            If Darwin Barney is the worst of our starting 8 for 2013-2015, I will be okay with that.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              I am slowly getting on this band wagon.  If he’s your 2Bman and batting #8, then you’ll have an above average fielding 2BMan and an above average #8 hitter.  More realistically, I think that it will be easier to upgrade the OF, 3B and the starting pitching than it will be to upgrade 2B.

              • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

                Welcome aboard Doc!

          • RoughRiider

            Somebody call 911!!!

        • cubmig

          I agree with you Kyle. But as the FO is looking at the “future”, it doesn’t seem to have room for everyone——and for Barney (in their eyes) there’s no room at the “Inn”.

        • Brett

          As with anything, it just depends on the return (and depends on what the Cubs think about guys like Watkins, Valbuena and Cardenas, and younger guys like DeVoss, Silva, and Torreyes). Barney is more replaceable internally than, for example, Castro. So it’s all degrees. Not to be too non-committal, but there are trades that could overall improve the Cubs’ chances of competing in 2013-15.

      • gutshot5820

        What could potentially be a return? A prospect that has a ceiling of….Barney? Ugh…I highly doubt he would bring a prospect back of significance.

    • JB88

      I’m in no way shape or form a big Barney guy, but unless he is part of a much bigger package, I see absolutely no upside in trading him at this point in time.

  • calicubsfan007

    Brett: That pic of Barney above kind of looks like he had a stroke.

    • Brett

      I love that picture.

      • calicubsfan007

        Brett: It’s a nice pic, just looks like he had a stroke, that’s all. I like the pic though.

    • Richard Nose

      Either that or it’s the face he used to get when Erin Andrews used to _____ him.

      • calicubsfan007

        Richard: Holy crap! I thought mine was edgy.

        • Richard Nose

          I know, I was nervous. hahahaha. I actually had a couple other replies come to mind, this was the cleanest one.

          • calicubsfan007

            Richard: Hahahahahahaha, I would imagine the other ones being even funnier, yet probably not stuff you can post on here!

  • ETS

    If you really wanted to get crazy, maybe you keep barney and sell castro…

    • Brett

      Indeed crazy … like a fox?

      • Gabriel

        no again. C’mon Brett

        • Brett

          I was joking.

      • ETS

        Honestly, it might be the better move. Castro may never get the defensive thing figured out, he may never hit for power and a career of 307/320 AVE/OBP doesn’t excite me too much.

        I honestly believe Castro will be amazing when he gets to be Barney’s age, but right now you could guarantee a GIGANTIC haul.

        • Cubs Dude

          Castro is already above avg. defensively, look at more than the errors. And he’s on pace for 15 homers. He is showing more power every year. I can easily see him hitting 20 bombs a year in a few years. No way the Cubs would get that type of value back. He’ll probably never walk much, but he can be elite at everything else.

        • Drew7

          I get irritated with his OBP too, but you have to include slugging in there too.

          • ETS

            OPS over values slugging – jus sayin.

            I don’t think I would ever trade castro and keep barney. I was more throwing out a hypothetical for conversation.

            • Cubs Dude

              I hear ya ETS. No doubt Castro would bring back WAY more than Barney. But I just don’t see a scenario where a team would give the correct value to obtain Castro.

              • ETS

                It’s really hard to find a team with 4-5 prospects that you’d even consider. Not unless you consider guys like trout prospects.

            • Drew7

              “OPS over-values slugging”

              Care to elaborate? Since XBH are an overwhelming indicator of winning, I’d have to strongly disagree.

              • Kyle

                OBP is a stronger indicating of run-scoring (and therefore winning) than SLG, but OPS treats them as equal. You can get slightly better correlations by using a weighted OPS that gives more value to a point of OBP than a point of SLG, but then you lose the appeal of being easy to calculate.

                • Drew7

                  I wasnt in any way discounting OBP – I was simply saying you can’t make a judgement based on Avg/OBP (which ETS has said he wasnt really doing, just using hypotheticals).

                  I have said numerous times before that I feel wOBA is one of, if not the best stat currently used (along with OPS+).

                  • ETS

                    I wish OPS+ was normalized to position average, not league average. A shortstop with an OPS+ of 107 is way more valuable than 1b with a 107.

                    • Drew7

                      I agree 100%. Im sure it wouldnt be that difficult to do – instead of normalizing to 100 couldnt you effectively normalize each position relative to 100 (ie. if 100 is league average (say, 700 OPS) and 2B OPS is .630, then we’d normalize with 90 instead of 100)

                    • WGNstatic

                      I am not an expert on the various recombined stats, but, isn’t that where WAR or VORP come into play?

                    • Brett

                      I, too, would like to see that.

                • Chad

                  If there were a metric which, instead of valuing OBP and SLG equally, discounted SLG – what values would you give to OBP vs SLG? .65 for OBP & .35 for SLG? .55 for OBP & .45 for SLG? How much greater (percentage wise) is OBP an indicator of scoring than SLG?

                  • hansman1982

                    wOBA does what you want. Go to and look it up in their library.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Actually, slugging explains slightly more variation in run-scoring (or runs-allowed) than OBP does.  When you break them down into constitute components, HR explain the most variation, followed by doubles+triples.  (Triples are more valuable than doubles, but there are so few of them that they easily can misbehave statistically.)   Singles and walks come in next.

                  This actually comes out in the weights that wOBA assigns the different outcomes.

                  • Drew7

                    You forget reaching base via error, which comes in slightly ahead of singles

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      Only on Castro’s errors…. 😉

              • dw8

                OBP is actually a better indicator of run scoring. Slugging is important however.


              • dob2812

                You can’t argue over whether or not OPS overvalues slugging. It just does. OPS values OBP and Slugging equally, simply by adding them together. OBP is significantly more valuable than slugging so by putting them on an equal plane, as OPS does, you’re overvaluing slugging.


                • hansman1982

                  well then…according to that (and weighted OBA) Castro is an above-average offensive player for every position except 1b, DH and RF and is significantly above average for SS.

            • hansman1982

              Well slugging is a GIANT factor in what teams make the post-season wereas batting average is nearly useless.

              • Drew7

                Right, thats all I was saying – slugging isnt as important as OBP, but much more important that BA

                Edit: I was careless in what I chose to question regarding ETS’ post, so the fault is mine.

                • ETS

                  There’s nothing to fault anyone for.

        • Gabriel

          he’s already figuring out the “defense thing” – he’s top 5 in defensive WAR last I checked (may have changed some at this point). Stop.

          He’s on pace for 15 bombs and 40 steals. Stop.

          also…HE’S 22

          • hansman1982

            you forgot the final stop so the telegraph operator is waiting and your bill is going through the rooooooooooooooooooooof.

        • Puma0821

          Castro already has a dWAR of 1.5, by compasison Omar Vizquel’s highest dWAR was 2.5 in ’93 and he only had a 2 dWAR or higher in 5 of 23 seasons. I think Castro is just fine defensively.

    • Gabriel


  • IlliniCubFan

    For the sabremetrically challenged, what is bWAR?

    • Brett

      Baseball Reference’s WAR.

      • cjdubbya

        as opposed to gWAR…the greatest rock band of all time.

        • OlderStyle

          Saw them at a Holiday Inn show in ’89. I made sure to stay at the rear so as not to be splattered with blood or other bodily fluids. It was… interesting.

  • @cubsfantroy

    As much as I would hate to see Barney go, if they can trade him, trade him. At this point everyone should be fair game (at least that are on the big league club).

  • Sinnycal

    Has Castro gotten a day off yet? Might be nice to showcase Barney at SS a couple times.

    • ETS

      I’m actually surprised this hasn’t happened more. I would play castro all the time now that it appears he has his stroke back but for those couple weeks he was struggling, a day off here and there would have made sense on a number of levels.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        That was just a sample size fluke. Players almost always look bad when pitchers get them to hit the ball poorly, and you get stochastic fluxes in how frequently a guy hits the ball well/poorly based on the pitching against him.  And, of course, there is good old Eris: and she’s been smiling on Starlin a bit over the last few games.

        • ETS

          Right, but if players start slumping the effects it has on their mental part of the game, their confidence, is real. Castro didn’t slump badly enough to warrant sirens, but a day off (that also shows off Barney’s defense) wouldn’t be a bad thing.

        • Sinnycal

          Right, there was no cause to panic or anything, but last I read he was one of 3 or 4 players in the league to not get a single game off all season. He’s not a machine. He could use a day off here and there, and it would be beneficial to get Barney some SS playing time.

      • Beer Baron

        I think he would have gotten a day off this weekend if not for all the lefties. But now he has suddenly come to life, so they’ll probably ride it for a while until he cools off again.

  • Ben

    The other piece to consider: Because arbitration doesn’t value defense, and looks at HR/SB totals, Barney will never be highly paid, even though he may deserve it. I could see his 3 arb years coming it at 10-12 million, and that may even be too high.

    I would only deal him if a team severly overpays for him. A very high end SP, or maybe 2-3 high risk, high reward low A SP. Otherwise, I just don’t see why we should get rid of him.

  • Gabriel

    I personally irrationally LOVE Darwin Barney due to my living in Oregon when his Oregon State teams won back-to-back CWS, and I would be really sad to see him go. I am not surprised at all that he has made himself into an above-average major league player at his position.

    However…if there is any way to squeeze out a player from a team’s top 10 prospects (not the white sox cuz their prospects are pretty awful), I could see a trade being for the best.

  • Jon

    Tigers * cough

    • ETS

      ^^^^^^ this.

    • Jzwizard

      Agreed. I wouldn’t mind seeing him packaged with Garza or Dempster, and possibly bring back one of their elite prospects

  • oswego chris

    Brett said the most likely scenario “bundled as part of a bigger package”…by himself I doubt the Cubs could get value for value as post steroid era middle infielders are back to hitting like they used to…

  • Cubs Dude

    I like Barney but if I remember right during the first half of last year everyone was loving him too as he hit over .300, and then couldn’t hit a lick after the break and hit .238. He’s a young player, so we need to give him the benefit of the doubt. But can he maintain production all year? I don’t know..

    • Drew7

      He did fade last year, but his increased slugging has kept me a little more optimistic this year.

    • SFCty

      I think you can chalk that up to not being exposed to a full 162 game season. I don’t think that will be as much of a problem this year.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, what Barney did was generate a really high batting average over about 7 weeks due to a ton of groundball hits.  When he came back from the disabled list, the grounders became outs.  It was not so much wearing down as Eris moving on to another guy…..

  • PattyP

    Darwin Barney is the type of player that is appreciated better on a winning team. He gets clutch hits, plays solid if not spectacular defense.

    • ETS

      Clutch is a myth. I like his defense. It’s very polished.

      • calicubsfan007

        His defense is consistent, which is the polar opposite of Castro’s. I like Castro, but he has nothing on Barney in terms of D.

        • ETS

          I’m willing to bet he has substantially more range, but don’t have fieldFX #’s or anything to back that.

          • calicubsfan007

            ETS: Good point, didn’t think of the range aspect. Castro, I think, has Barney on that one. The fact that he has great range is partially the reason he gets in as many fielding probs as he does.

            • ETS

              I think that’s fair. I also think it’s fair to say that it’s a part of the reason why his defensive ceiling is way, way up there.

          • Kyle

            I’ll take that bet.

            That’s not a shot against Castro’s range, which is very good. Barney is a *really* good defensive middle infielder with exceptional range. The only thing I like about Castro more than Barney defensively is his arm.

  • Featherstone

    All this talk of 2nd basemen got me thinking of Robinson Cano. Hes under contract through 2013 at 14mil per, just makes me wonder what hes worth come FA given the rediculous numbers he puts up. Anyone know his WAR and dWAR?

    • CityCub

      I don’t think it should matter. I cant see the skankees letting him go in free agency. It’s a nice thought. But I couldn’t see that happening.

  • Noah

    The question for Barney is entirely what you’d get back. You have to remember that his current talent level doesn’t solely exist in a vacuum. Now, he’s almost certainly essentially at his overall potential, so that comes out of the equation. But you also have to consider cost and service time. Barney has four years of service time left, and won’t hit arbitration until 2014. Add to that the fact that the Cubs don’t exactly have any prospects knocking down the door to replace him at 2B. They have guys they could patch in there over the next year or two: Cardenas, Valbuena, Watkins, etc., but no one like as much as Barney.

    I’d need a pretty significant offer to trade Barney at this point. I agree that he wouldn’t get a Top 100 type of prospect, but I think one guy in 6-10 range organizationally and another in the 16-20 range would be reasonable. There would not be any burgeoning stars, but they would be legitimate prospects as opposed to organizational filler.

    • Kyle

      A 6-10 organizational prospect really isn’t enough. I think people are overestimating how valuable those are (not directed at you, this is something that I’ve been flirting with posting for awhile now).

      The Cubs’ No. 6 prospect coming into this season was Castillo, a guy who *might* have a future in MLB as a backup catcher. Before that, it was Chris Carpenter, who has a WHIP approaching 2.0 in AAA and MLB this year.

      2010: Hak Ju Lee, a great defensive SS who looks severely overmatched as a hitter in AA ball.

      2009: Kevin Hart, a journeyman AAA pitcher.

      2008: Donald Veal, a journeyman pitcher probably not good enough for AAA

      2007: Eric Patterson, brother of Corey. AAA middle infielder at his peak

      2006: Sean Masrhall. We have a winner!

      That’s as far back as BA will let me go without a subscription. The vast majority of these “top 10 organizational prospects” will turn into hot, stinky garbage. I’m not giving up a cost-controlled, prime years MLB middle infielder for a whole pile of them.
      Barney sort of falls into that large gap where he’s too valuable to trade for middling prospects and not valuable enough to garner a top prospect. It’d be very hard to find a prospect package that makes sense for both sides in a trade.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I would go a step further: you simply cannot compare Top 10’s among teams blithely.  The #6 prospect for the Rays probably is better than the #2 prospect for the ChiSox.  Really, it’s the absolute rankings we should keep in mind.

        This is important because a few of the teams interested in Cubs players have much stronger Top 10’s than do others.

      • ETS

        Lol this is assuming the cubs farm is comparable to league average.

        Edit: ninja’d by doc.

        • Kyle

          It has been. Coming into this season (and before the Rizzo trade) BA ranked it at No. 14.

          Where did Cubs fans get the idea that the Cubs have had a bunch of poorly ranked farm systems over the years?

          There have been some down years, sure, but that’s the nature of the beast. You get a high ranking, you graduate prospects, you drop down. Then, the people ahead of you graduate their guys, and you move back up. It’s very cyclical.

          • ETS

            I guess I wouldn’t call our overall system poor, but if you compare top 6 prospects amongst farms in baseball, I bet cubs come in much lower than if you compare overall system health.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          My thought is less about the Cubs, as they are sellers not buyers, than it is about the Jays, Rays, Sox, Dodgers, ChiSox, etc., who might be buying from Cubs. Right now, the ChiSox currency is a yen against the Ray’s dollar.   Kyle is right about the distribution but there are some real differences among the contending teams.

  • Vladimir

    If we’re gonna trade Barney, we better atleast get someone’s 5th – 10th best prospect in a good top loaded system. Someone in McNutt or Sczurzr’s level.

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  • Kyle

    That’s true, but the extremes make is like a bigger difference than you’d find with most teams. Organizational rankings are a big, narrow bell curve. There’s a few great ones, a few terrible ones, and a mass of very similar farm systems in the middle.

  • Mysterious4th

    I really like Barney and his defense (which improved a ton from last season to this season) he also seems to be making the right adjustments both on defense and offense. Still have to cut him some slack on each side given he’s had 1.5yrs in the majors. Even if we keep him and one of the young guys comes up he’s def a great guy to be the middle infield back up. And he’s under control for awhile and he’s an inexpensive player that’s pretty darn good for the price. The FO is all about saving money so he’s probably the best deal. I would be pretty disappointed if he were traded. I like the kid a lot and I see him as a possible club house leader down the road. I know we want prospects but he is still young (26) and if he continues to adjust like he has in the last year I think his WAR may get higher.

  • Leroy K.

    Damn. One of my favorite Cub players. I am proud to own my Darwin Barney jersey. I for one hope he stays…

    • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

      Right there with ya…

  • Patrick G

    Just heard Ken Rosenthal on MLBN saying the Braves with the injury of Beachy will be looking for starting pitching. What’s the likelihood of them looking at Dempster and/or Garza?
    I feel the only other pitchers out there could possibly be Hamels or Greinke being FA after this year, but don’t see Philadelphia selling Hamels to Atlanta.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Would love to get Mike Minor in return somehow. Would also take Aroldys Vizacaino. Currently rehabbing from TJ surgery, but another great young ATL arm.

      • Patrick G

        I would love to see

        Dempster/LaHair for Minor/Vizcaino/Delgado
        Garza/Barney/Vitters for Turner and Castellanos

        Those are big stretches but gives the Cubs some good arms and a hopeful future 3B. All the pitchers are just about Major League ready but Turner who could go into the farm system

        • Andrew

          Id take that deal in a heartbeat if i were the tigers. they get a #2 starter for 1.5 years, a starting SS or 2B for 4 years and a potential 3B in exchange for a potential #2 and potential 3B

          • Patrick G

            Even possibly Teheran, but he’s the Braves #1 and only 21, not sure if they would part with him

      • Jonski

        I watched a little bit of Braves broadcast last night …They made a remark about Minor complaining about arm discomfort .He is being watched closley so I will pass im not trying to take any players with injury’s!I disagree that any of them pitchers are near ready watch most of them other then Turner and Viscaino when you trade Dempster and Garza its not about maybes its about better be’s or you don’t trade them.

    • Andrew

      Even if both the Brewers and Phillies are actively shopping them, I dont see hamels or Greinke getting traded. both are going to be too costly because The brewers and Phillies will be compensated in the draft if they dont resign them. Add to that the fact that the team trading for the rental wont get any compensation draftwise if they dont resign them and the result is that the price to trade for them is higher than the value that a team would get out of those players. Garza has a high price tag, but the likelihood of draft pick compensation for the team trading for him when he becomes a FA mitigates that somewhat. Dempster is of less value to the cubs because they probably wont get compensated for him anyways if they dont resign him.

  • RoughRiider

    “The Cubs would probably be quite content to hold onto Barney for the next few years, given that he’s emerged as a league average or better second baseman (I know, I can barely believe it myself), and he’s cheaply under control for some time yet.”

    I don’t want to say I told you so. (Last Spring) But I did.

    • Brett

      Tobe fair, part of the reason Barney has become league average is because league average offense for second baseman has dropped considerably in the last three years. It’s not like Barney’s .717 OPS is, itself, a world beater.

  • mudge

    and so you have.

  • Steve

    I’ve heard Atlanta linked to Dempster before. My “source ” (who is a high level broadcasting network) said so!

  • Norm

    I’m not following how people can say there is “no upside” to trading Barney or “no reason to trade” Barney. You don’t even know what the return would be! How can you say any of these things? There could be significant reason and upsdide to trading him.

    • Kyle

      Trades usually happen when there is an imbalance between the needs of two teams. Cubs needed a young first baseman and San Diego did not. Cubs do not need the rest of Dempster’s 2012 but a contending team will.

      Cubs definitely need a MLB-quality 2b with little service time. It is hard to imagine another team needing him more and having something spare that we need more.

      I’m not against trading him in general, but I have trouble envisioning a good trade.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Put another way, trading Barney is like gettting a pair of 2’s in poker and throwing one back to the dealer in hopes of completing a flush.  Unless you have three other cards in suit with the 2 you’ve kept, then it’s a huge gamble.  I’m not a huge Barney fan, but I don’t see the other 3 hearts right now.

      • Puma0821

        I’d argue that we have an MLB-quality 2B in Valbuena who should be able play average or better defense with more OPS and will be cheap and has little service time. I don’t know that his bat can carry 3B so I don’t consider him there full time. If that didn’t work out there is always Cardenas and all those other options in the future ( Watkins, Silva, Torreyes, Lake (maybe) Baez, DeVoss). So I woold be Okay with sending Barney out; probably in a package to maximize our returns.

        • Kyle

          And I’d argue that “MLB quality” is an incredibly optimistic view of Valbuena.

          • Puma0821

            You don’t think that he can keep his OPS higher than Barney’s? I think while Barney may have a better hit tool, Valbuena’s power and willingness to take a walk should counteract that and his defense should project to a .5 -to 1.5 dWAR so still pretty good.

            • Kyle

              Disagree on all accounts.

              Valbuena is a .638 OPS player in 234 MLB games. He’s a little more BB friendly than Barney, but not much and both are below average in that regard. He’s got a little more power, but not a lot more given Barney’s improvement in that area this year.

              He’s significantly worse defensively, and he’s definitely not a 1.5 WAR defensive player. You can pick whichever defensive metric you like, but they all agree he’s pretty bad.

              UZR has Valbuena at -8.1 runs/150 games played at 2b and Barney at +5.5/150. That’s a difference of about 1.5 WAR per season between the two on defense alone. It’s questionable whether Valbuena’s bat is better than Barney’s, but it’s definitely not *that* much better.

              Valbuena is what he is: A AAA infielder who you don’t mind calling up in an emergency. He’s the living embodiment of replacement level.

              • Puma0821

                I realize we are working with really small sample sizes here but taking 2010 where he mainly played 2B (71 games) he had a .8 dWAR. Now B-R doesn’t break it down by positon but in 2009 he also played a lot of games at 2B but a signifaicant amount at SS where his fielding percentage was significantly lower and he still had a .1 dWAR overall. So I have to imagine if you subtract the games not played a 2B his WAR for those 2 combined years (which equals out to about 1 full year) is over 1.

                As far as offense the biggest samples come from those two years as well, his age 23 and 24 seasons (when Barney was in AA and AAA mainly). He hit 12 homeruns and he was in an aweful slump in 2010. 2011 in AAA he hit 17 Hrs and had an OPS of .848 whil this year in Iowa he was at 8 Hrs and an .885 OPS. I have to believe that better than Barney has/could ever do in AAA ( too lazy to look up). He already has a couple bombs in the majors so I have to say that in a full season he should project soomewhere in the 12-17 range with at least a similar OBP to Barney.

          • KyleNovak

            With the current era showing such a downward trend in offense, I fully believe that the line between fringe players and so-called “late-bloomers” in their mid-to-late 20s who could become MLB caliber players has shifted and become blurred. Any front office would be foolish to only make assumptions.

            Stewart is hurt, so Valbuena now has the luxury of getting playing time so the office can see what he can do. If anything, they will be able to make a decision on which bench infielder types to keep (due to versatility, effectiveness and cost), and which ones to dump.

            I’m definitely not saying Valbuena will amount to being a MLB-caliber regular and I agree with you about the optimistic projection in the post above. Just remember that Barney (and LaHair, among others) was once considered a fringe bench/organizational depth type player by many intelligent analysts and his play is making them rethink their stance.

            • Kyle

              I definitely agree: I wouldn’t count out a guy like Valbuena’s ability to take a step forward, just like Barney has.

              I just wouldn’t count on it either. Some percentage of the borderline guys are going to take a step forward like that, but that’s no reason to use them in place of a guy who has already taken the step forward. Like I said earlier: Darwin Barney is Darwin Barney, but the Mystery Prospect could be anything. It could even be Darwin Barney!

        • cubs217

          Assuming (always big assumption with prospects) that Lake works out, I would hate to see him at 2B given his great arm. I would prefer him to stick on the left side of the IF or somewhere in the outfield rather than waste the arm.

      • Norm

        I understand, and I doubt he’s traded, but everyone can be had if the price is right.

  • rocky8263

    Barney’s not going anywhere. Ricketts loves this kid. See Kerry Wood.

    • GoldFinch

      I’ve heard there is truth to this.

  • cubsin

    I don’t think Barney will be traded, but if he is, I expect it will be to a contending team in desperate need of a SS, not a 2B.

    • Brett

      That’s what I’m saying.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Okay… nobody is going to make the price right for Darwin. We went several years and had nothing at second base. Now we got a guy who is really pretty good especially on defense and his hitting has improved greatly. These guys don’t actually grow on tree’s. You can keep Valbuena at 3b until he doesn’t hit anymore. But none of these scrubs we have at AAA are Barney replacements. He is cheap as hell to keep and if traded he isn’t going to bring back anything that markedly improves us. And nothing that comes back will improve us at 2B. So it’s pretty hard to trade a piece that already fits the puzzle going forward. I’m ready for the fleecing of the scrubs to begin. Can’t wait to see Johnson, Baker and Stewart DFA’d or traded for entry level hot dog and beer vendors.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I doubt we will see Stewart back for a long while. At least I hope not. We are doing him a favor paying him to be on the DL. He should be DFA’d, Cut and sent home to collect unemployment. If someone hears he coming back Rocko needs to go ensure that wrist is not healed. I have been waiting for the Soriano, DeJesus, LaHair outfield all season. This will be our outfield next season as well. Rizzo at 1B and all we really need to do is get Chase Headley or some other REAL 3B. Our catchers are basically interchangable. We will probably keep GEO until the deadline and not get anything for him. I think we just keep him and with the 3 guys we got we make do. Not many options in the system or out there on the market to be had. So we get a 3B and some pitching and we don’t suck nearly as bad as we have. I keep Campana as my base stealer and spot starter. The rest of the scrubs can go bye bye. Let’s bring up a few minor league outfielders if we need something to get by. If we keep Soriano and LaHair it gives us time to develop our good young OFer’s. Maybe Jackson gets a September call up but it doesn’t look like he is earning his pay right now. I could see him getting packaged up in a trade with Dempster or Garza to get some prospects back. I can see Vitters and Lake getting September call ups and they both get some innings at 3B.

    • http://deleted Crazyhorse STEWART bye bye

      Thumbs up!

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I heard somewhere today that Encarnacion is one of the guys the Jays would want to package up in a trade. God I hope he doesn’t come to play 3B for us. He sucks. Don’t do that Theo