Darwin Barney Keeps Breaking Records and Other Bullets

So, is the Bears’ offense really going to click this year, or are the Colts still just that bad?

  • Darwin Barney’s assault on the record books continues, as he broke Ryne Sandberg’s NL record for total consecutive errorless games at second base (123) this weekend, which Sandberg had set between 1989 and 1990. The next record that Barney can set is the MLB single season record for the same, which is 141 games by Placido Polanco in 2007. Barney is at 125.
  • The irony, of course, is that Barney honed his defensive craft in the minor leagues under the tutelage of the very same Ryne Sandberg. “He put a lot of extra time in with the work we did down there, and it’s paying off,” Barney said of Sandberg, per Paul Sullivan. “Definitely had a lot of time to get to know what kind of guy he is and how he goes about his business.”
  • Speaking of Sandberg, here’s a  little profile on Ryno, who is coaching with the Phillies this month after another successful AAA managerial season. It doesn’t sound like the Phillies are quite yet ready to move on from Charlie Manuel, so Sandberg – if he’s the heir apparent – will have to continue to wait for his big league shot.
  • Alfonso Soriano continues to hit, and he says he doesn’t feel like a 36-year-old. “I’m 36 years old, working, and I don’t feel like 36,” Soriano said. “I have my hands and my power and that’s more important. I want to prove to my teammates and people outside that I’m 36 but I don’t feel like I’m 36 and I can do a lot of things in this game.” If Soriano finishes strong, you’ve got to believe there will be a fair bit of interest in him in the offseason, with the money being the only hold-up in a trade.
  • Recently shut down starter Jeff Samardzija thinks the Cubs can be very good in 2013, regardless of what happens in the offseason. “The way I look at it is, you look at any professional sport and there are quick turnarounds, period,” Samardzija said. “Everybody here is a good player and the talent level here is closer than you think. You look at teams that have a ton of talent and they don’t have great years. You have to look at it in a positive way that if we get off to a hot start and our young guys are playing good and get some confidence, anything can happen, especially in these long seasons.” I love the optimism and the great attitude, but without significant changes in the offseason (which aren’t expected), it would take a miracle for this team to be competitive in 2013. But, hey, miracles happen all the time in sports. Look at the Orioles.
  • Cubs players wore NFL jerseys on their flight from Pittsburgh to Houston today. Half of them were wearing Steelers jerseys because they didn’t plan in advance, and had to buy what was available in Pittsburgh.
  • The MLBullets at BCB look at Stephen Strasburg’s slightly early shut down.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

67 responses to “Darwin Barney Keeps Breaking Records and Other Bullets”

  1. Cubbie Blues

    I want to prove to my teammates and people outside that I’m 36

    And not 38.

    1. BD

      I read that and thought “How many people are going to say that ‘Of course he doesn’t feel 36- because he’s 40!’”

      1. JulioZuleta

        My exact thoughts.

  2. CubFan Paul

    “is the Bears’ offense really going to click this year, or are the Colts still just that bad”

    The Colts have $50M in dead salary cap space they can’t use. The new GM came in and cut a lot of veterans including some guy named Peyton who doesn’t looked washed up. With that $50M freeing up in 2013 the owner and GM figure to have a quick rebound (I doubt it. Letting Peyton walk and not getting anything for him will be the worst decision ever)

    1. wait til next year.....again

      There was no way the Colts could get anything for Manning. If they had traded him, the cap hit on Manning alone would have been over $30 million. By cutting him, is cap hit was $11 million. This is what allowed the Colts to do anything this offseason. They did not cut Manning because he was “washed up.” Manning was cut because the Colts had an opportunity to draft Andrew Luck. The Colts did not want to be a team like Denver or Miami, who tried years to replace a legendary quarterback. The Colts new that after Manning retired, the next few years would be difficult. Instead of taking a third round pick and hoping he worked out after Manning, the Colts took the best quarterback to come out since Manning or Elway and take some lumps now, knowing in two or three years, we are in good hands again. Cutting Manning was the smart move for the Colts now and in the future. Sorry Brett, I know this is a baseball blog.

      1. CubFan Paul

        I would rather the Colts have $70M in dead salary cap space and had gotten draft picks for traded Peyton instead of $50M they can’t use and No extra draft picks. Letting a hall of famer walk away to conference rival is just plain dumb

        1. wait til next year.....again

          $70 million in dead money with a $120 million cap makes no sense. Dwight Freeney is already counting $19 million against the cap. That puts you at roughly $30 million to build the rest of your roster and sign draft picks. That is not possible. The only realistic option was to cut Manning and take the lumps now.

          1. CubFan Paul

            $50M in dead money makes no sense but owner & Ryan Grigson chose that path. Had Peyton been traded ($70M in dead money), Freeney would have been traded also to free up $14M (only $5M of his salary would stay).

            So in that scenario the team would have $64M to field a 2011 team compared to the $70M they have now for the 2011 team. The difference is $6M AND the draft picks from trading Peyton and Freeney

            1. wait til next year.....again

              $64 million to fill 53 spots is not possible, That would assume that the average salary on the team is $1.2 million. Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis, Antoine Bethea, and Adam Vinateri, account for between $15 and $20 million in cap room. That puts you at bwtween $44 and $49 million for 49 players. The average NFL salary is $770,000. Good luck signing 49 guys to that amount of money. A first round pick is going to require a contract that involves close to a $4 million cap hit. Lastly, how many picks would a team give up for Manning? I seriously doubt a team like Denver or Tennessee would have given up three first round picks for a guy coming off of three neck surgeries at 35 years old.

              1. JulioZuleta

                This is a basball site, and a Chicago one. Why is there an extended conversation about Peyton Manning and the Colts??

                1. TWC

                  Don’t worry, we’ll start arguing about the Cubs soon enough.

              2. CubFan Paul

                The colts ARE filling 53 spots with $64M! They have $50M in dead salary cap space. Jesus

                1. JulioZuleta

                  This is Cubs site. Jesus. Let me direct you to a more appropiate setting:http://forums.colts.com/index.php?/page/index.html

                  1. CubFan Paul

                    Michigan Goat don’t you have your own blog? ;)

                  2. wait til next year.....again

                    Also, you will clearly note the Cubs conversations have continued below.

                2. wait til next year.....again

                  Actually, there total dead money is $38 million. They have roughly $80 million to fill 53 roster spots. I apolgized to Brett for keeping this conversation going. I am a huge Cubs and Colts fan and talking about both of them really fires me up.

    2. MightyBear

      They said the same thing about Brett Favre and going with some kid named Rogers. How’d that work out?

      1. CubFan Paul

        Rodgers played behind Favre for 3 or 4 years. Totally different scenarios and situations.

    3. Boogens

      Seems like everyone’s forgetting that if Manning had stayed he was due a $28 million lump sum payment. I think it’s safe to say that the Colts would have loved to keep him but just couldn’t pay that much for a guy coming off 4 neck surgeries, plenty of uncertainty, and a 2014 team with a potential franchise QB through the draft. In the end they made the best choice for themselves. Had he stayed the Colts would still be abysmal, they’d be out $28 million and Andrew Luck would have been riding the pines instead of learning.

      1. Boogens

        Sorry. That was supposed to be “2-14″ instead of “2014″ team.

  3. Crazyhorse

    Great job Barney! super high five!

  4. PKJ

    Why is Baseball Reference’s 1.4 WAR so down on Soriano compared to Fangraphs’ 3.6? You’d think that with his improved defense and bat that those numbers would be higher.

    1. Picklenose

      If a single statistic can have multiple values depending upon who calculates it, doesn’t that mean the statistic contains a fair amount of opinion and should be taken with a grain of salt?
      I am asking this question seriously, not trolling. It just seems to me that putting numbers on an opinion doesn’t make it any more real than just calling it an opinion.

      1. bbmoney

        Yes, the defensive statistics out there should be taken with a large grain of salt. Especially one year defensive metric numbers. That also obviously impacts WAR calculations. If you just look at oWAR it can give you a better idea of a players supposed offensive value if you don’t trust those defensive metrics.

      2. DocPeterWimsey

        There is a subtle distinction here, but an important one. The different metrics are based on different theories, i.e., different general ideas that we assume to be true. They are essentially models with some empirical or first-principle support. An “opinion” in the true sense of the word (an idea you hold to be true because of facts + premise) is closer to a hypothesis. (People confuse “theory” and “hypothesis” all the time, but they are two different things.)

        Now, a theory can be wrong: and clearly the theory behind one of these defensive metrics is off, because they cannot both be correct. So, recast the model as a hypothesis and test it!

        1. Picklenose

          Doc – I understand where you are coming from, but if each method of calculating WAR is a hypothesis, then neither one has been verified or should be used in the same way as OBP, or WHIP.
          I see it more like the idea of using rubrics in grading papers (I am a former scientist who left the lab to teach high school science). Teachers would say if I write a rubric of the items I am looking for in an essay, assign each a range (say 1 to 10) then give my final score as a percent of points earned it is a much fairer, more impartial system than just assigning a grade. But if the items I am looking for are still subjective, ranking smaller categories of subjective areas is still subjective, just hidden behind some numbers. It seems like defensive metrics are like using rubrics, you substitute a number of subjective, sub areas for an overall or gestalt subjective judgement.
          What do you think?

          1. DocPeterWimsey

            I would state that each method of WAR is a extrapolated number of victories gained/lost by an individual players given different assumptions.

            What it comes down to is this. We can use some metric to infer how many more/fewer outs than average a fielder provides. X outs distributed over Y games should result (on average) in Z runs. Every 10 runs results (on average) results in 1 victory.

            So, there are two possible sources of difference. One, how many more/fewer outs is Alfonso Soriano (or any fielder) creating over Joe Leftfielder (or other position)? Two, how many runs does that prevent/allow?

            It is possible that #2 is the source of the difference. League wide, there is an average number of extra runs that you expect from giving a team an extra AB per game. However, this will vary from team to team: and a team with a good pitching staff will give up fewer runs per AB than will a team with bad pitching staff.

            If one metric is using league wide averages whereas the other metric is using team-specific ones (based on K’s, BB, grounders and flyballs), then every extra out that a Cub makes (or that any fielder on a team with bad pitching makes) is worth more than an out than a guy on a team with a good pitching staff makes. Sure, the extra out sucks: but the pitchers are more apt to K the extra guy(s) and less apt to magnify it by giving up a walk or an extra base hit.

            That leads to my proposed test: which defensive WAR formula best predicts the deviation from xFIP among all teams? That is the one that I would favor.

            1. Kyle

              The big problem with defensive metrics is how do you normalize for chances, or do you even want to?

              Technically, it’s a problem for hitting too, but we sort of just assume it all evens out. It’s probably that some hitters over the course of a season, just by luck, get a lot more hanging breaking balls down the middle, and some get a lot more nasty two-strike pitches to deal with. We sort of assume that sort of chance quality evens out and measure what the batter actually did with the pitches he got. We don’t look at a single to left and say “we need to adjust that for what the league-average hitter would have done with that pitch.”

              But for defense, it’s a lot trickier to assume that. When a ballplayer makes a catch in the outfield, should we credit him with the value of the out? Or should, unlike the pitch example above, we adjust it for whether or not the average player at his position would have made the catch?

              If we do adjust for difficulty (and really, even if we dont’), we get into a *really* tricky spot with “descriptiveness” vs. “predictiveness.” Do we want our defensive metrics to tell us how many runs a defender did or did not save, or do we want to predict how valuable it will be in the future?

              There are a lot of routine plays that almost every fielder will make 99% of the time. The ability to make those plays is so important that it basically defines the defensive spectrum and the resulting positional scarcity. You simply can’t play a position at the MLB level if you can’t almost always make the routine plays. By the same token, there are a lot of plays that nobody can make. A defender’s value is in the opportunities he has to make the small number of plays in between: The ones he can make, but the average player may not. And the number of such opportunities a player gets over the course of a season most definitely do not even out.

              If you have an elite CF, he may have some years with significantly more “In-between chances” than others. A predictive defensive stat would measure him about the same defensively each year. A descriptive stat would vary wildly with the chances. Which stat do you prefer? Which is “better?” Those are tough questions.

              1. Picklenose

                Kyle, thanks for that post. Well thought out and thought provoking.

            2. Picklenose

              Doc, thanks for a thoughtful post. I think there may be more uncertainty than you realize (or state) but I really appreciate the amount of thought you put into this. I do agree totally that making a more testable stat is the holy grail.

  5. Lifepainter

    Good for Barney…that would be something if he could go the entire season without an error. I have in interest in football.

    1. JulioZuleta

      He has an error (at least) already. Happened at the beginning of he year.

  6. Rizzo44

    So lets start the off season trade rumors now. Who do the Cubs go get and who will will trade? I hope they make some good trades and sign a couple FA pitchers and Hamilton.

  7. OlderStyle

    Go Barney.
    Go Bears. I think the Colts are still that bad.
    I can’t think of a team that would: a)want Soriano and b)Soriano would accept a trade to. I’ve gone over the possibilities with a buddy who’s a Tigers fan and he can’t see a fit there. I would imagine Cubs would want at least a decent prospect package for swallowing most of his contract.
    Go Shark. Will he be the next pro athlete to hawk hair care products?

  8. Stu

    Soriano’s season is a gift to Theo. He can now sell relatively high and get more prospects for the farm season.

    Barney is a luxury for a team like the Cubs. It is fine to have all of the defense in the world, but the problem with the Cubs is scoring runs which is a byproduct of a low team OBP.

    If you are going to build a team on defense, you must have at least a middle of the pack offense. Unless you are the Giants and have killer pitching. The Cubs won’t be in that position for at least 3-4 years.

  9. fortyonenorth

    I tossed this idea out a few days ago, but thought I’d air it out again, being that it didn’t get but one response.

    Someone told me the Cubs were going to go with a Rockies-style rotation next year – wherein they pitch two “starters” each game and have the staff on limited innings. I was at first dubious, but on second thought, intrigued. Why not? If the Cubs fail to pick up a Maholm-type or two in the offseason they’re going to have to do something clever to prevent mass-suicide among the fans and players, right?

    Thoughts?

    1. THEOlogical

      The Rockies just finished a series in Atlanta (where Glavine was in the broadcast booth) and said it makes no sense to go with that style of pitching. It is a quirky setup but it’s not at all teaching your starting pitchers how to work out of jams and how to set up a hitter. Most of the starters are young and need more experience, how are they getting that by going out there for 3-4 innings at a time? Plus you know the pitch mark is in the back of their minds while they’re on the mound. Also, they would rarely get a win, the best chance they have is to get a no decision.
      This is all what Glavine was talking about during the game. It’s interesting but not what the Rockies should be testing out with the types of starters they have, if any team at all. That’s why their season opening pitching coach resigned. This year was crazy enough but to do it next year as well is ludicrous. They won’t sign any decent pitchers in the off season and these kids have to suffer for it.

  10. fortyonenorth

    “they definitely have plenty of the “extra” fifth starter types to make the numbers work”

    That was my thought – and “extra” guys who seem to be halfway decent the first time or two through the order, but lose it after that.

    But, I agree, hard to imagine applying that same formula to Shark/Garza.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      I would think it would be harder to get FA pitchers to come on board with a strategy like that. I realize they aren’t going to go after any top line guys this year, but after a whole season with that kind of strategy they (hopefully) will be looking at top free agents.

  11. Spencer

    What if the Red Sox hired Ryno in the offseason after firing Valentine? That would be awful.

    1. TWC

      I sure hope this happens. It would be a shame if we didn’t have some intensely passionate, outrageous subtext to keep clogging up the comments and message boards during next year’s middling season.

      1. J. Edwards

        Amen. It’s hard enough to light a fiery distraction around here but a Ryno red herring would send our psyches into meltdown, especially when his team (Phils, BoSox, or Mystery) goes to the WS. Spark it up!

  12. Fastball

    Fire Sveum and Hire Ryno… Let’s get the party started… Keep swinging the axe Theo…

  13. Picklenose

    Hansman, with all due respect you don’t understand. Sorry, I know that sounds harsh, but I will try to explain.
    Let me try another scenario, pretend you are a teen again. You come home, and your parents start yelling at you. That is the starting observation. You think to yourself, my parents are mad because I came home after curfew. You turn that into a hypothesis by saying, If I come home after curfew my parents will yell at me. You test it by coming home after curfew a few more times. If indeed your parents yell at you each time you have verified your hypothesis. Now you create a law, when I come home after curfew, then my parents will yell at me. Or you change your test, and each time your parents start yelling at you, you give them a questionnaire to determine why they are so upset. According to the questionnaires you determine that your parents were worried that you were hurt. So you propose a theory, when I come home after curfew, my parents will yell at me because they were worried and they express it by yelling.
    One big point, theories do not become laws. Both the theory and law summarize a lot of data or observations in a way that allow you to make predictions, but the theory also includes an explanation of how these observations occur. Then you can use laws or theories to make further predictions, or generate a new hypothesis.
    Einstein’s theory of relativity explains certain observations that deviated from Newton mechanics and predicted many other observations, many of which have been confirmed. It is a theory because he explained all motion must be calculated relative to the speed of light. Another great example is Darwin. He stated that the average form of a species will change over time in response to environmental pressures. That is a long series observations and if he had stopped there it would be called Darwin’s Law. But he also proposed a mechanism, that the individuals in a population that are best suited to the environment are able to breed more widely, thus increasing the frequency of their traits in the species. That explanation turned his observation into a theory. By the by, the formation of new species comes because one species is split into two or more groups, each of which continues to evolve in their own direction until they are no longer able to breed with each other.