The gods are doing their best to rob us of every possible reason we had to feel good about this season …

  • Darwin Barney was three outs away from having sole possession of the record for most consecutive errorless games at second base in all of baseball. On a grounder up the middle, Barney ranged far to his right, instead of just trying to play for the streak. He picked the ball and tried to make the throw to first, which was low. Anthony Rizzo couldn’t snag it, and the streak was over. The worst part: it was an error only because there was a runner on base who scored, and who otherwise wouldn’t have scored. The grounder, itself, was scored a base hit.
  • Dale Sveum sees Anthony Rizzo as a future clubhouse leader, if he isn’t one already.
  • Speaking of which, Rizzo was sick about what he perceived to be his own failure on Barney’s error. Rizzo steadied himself enough to compliment his teammate: “First off, what he’s done is incredible. That play up the middle – incredible play, fearless, which he’s done all year. That’s the type of player Barney is. That’s why everyone was so upset. For me, it could turn into a positive. Everyone’s closer. I feel a lot of emotion right now.”
  • Sveum was also sick about the Barney play. “That’s probably the sickest feeling that I think I’ve had in the game besides a couple playoff losses when you know you’re going home.” Sveum said, per “It’s kind of the same feeling. It’s, wow, you can’t believe it. Some things you can’t understand in this world, and in life, period. That one is unbelievable to happen in the [eighth] inning and a play like that. It wasn’t even an error – it was an error because a guy advanced on a base hit that got away from the first baseman.”
  • Barney on the error: “No [I didn’t think about holding the ball], I’ve got to make that play. It was 5-3 at the time. We’re in that ballgame. My job is to make plays, regardless of taking risk, and I think I’ve done that through this whole little run. That’s just how you play the game. You can’t hold that ball right there …. When your head feels like it’s floating around in the air and not connected to your body, that’s how we both felt. I felt more bad for ‘Riz’ because I knew how bad he felt. That’s not his fault at all. The ball popped up off the Arizona dirt and that’s just how it goes. He was doing his job to be aggressive, and I was doing my job to be aggressive.” Good guy that Barney.
  • This will get its own post, but I wanted you to get a look early while it’s out there – the Cubs showed up aplenty on Baseball America’s top Northwest League prospects list (that’s where the loaded Boise Hawks play).
  • The Cubs have a back-up plan.
  • Ok, enough down-ness about the Barney error: you had a great run, Darwin, and you’ve had a great season. Congrats. Hold your head high. It’s a helluvanawesome streak.
  • CubFan Paul

    Trade Darwin for younger assets, he’s at peak value (possible glove & another season of $500k before arbitration). I doubt if he’s back next year

    • Ian Afterbirth

      I doubt we’d get much for Barney, despite his being at his peak value.
      Considering what we could probably get for him (marginal 5th starter at best?) I’d rather keep him. He has more value to the team than we could get in return.

      • CubFan Paul

        It’s NOT my opinion that Barney has a lot of trade value, it’s other teams and the national media that has a Barney boner. I was just saying: if I’m Theo&Co I’d capitalize and trade him for younger players

        We have a shot ton of sub. 700 OPS second basemen for 2013: Valbuena, Cardenas, Watkins and whoever they acquire with the $100M they have available to spend this winter (the new MLB tv deal ($50M per team) covers the Cubs’ payroll ($40M))

        • CubFan Paul

          Shot ton = Shit ton

          • DarthHater

            Thanks for that important clarification.

        • gutshot5820

          What are you talking about? He has a 4.7 WAR right now. He would be worth close to 25m if he was a free agent right now.

          • Drew7

            No. Setting aside the issue of suspect defensive metrics, Barney would never get even close to that much.

            All aspects of WAR are definitely not created equal: while generating 1 win from hitting may be worth the $4-5 mil you are implying, that certainly doesnt apply to WAR derived from defense (as is almost entirely the case with Barney).

            • Ptbnl

              So now WAR is a flawed stat? Or is it only flawed when it shows players you don’t like in a positive way?

              • Drew7

                WAR is not a stat. It certainly has limitations (the defensive aspect of WAR is widely debated), it doesnt have to be perfect for it not to be “useless”.

                So, if you question is, “do I think WAR can be used to assign a dollar value to each player?”, the answer is no. There are certain “types” of wins that can either A) be easier to replace, or B) have a greater probability of diminishing/fluctuating. Hitting is both difficult to replace and has a much lower chance of rapidly declining with age, and thus is worth more on the FA-market.

                • gutshot5820

                  Your statement is totally confusing, you are simultaneously saying it is useful and not useful. Whatever.

                  • Pat

                    It doesn’t have to be perfect to be useful. Most of the time it is a useful measurement of how valuable a player is. But there are outliers.

                    Actuary tables are extremely useful. Just because one person might die at 30 when they are expected to live to 78 doesn’t make the tables useless.

                    WAR for the most part does what it should. Give a reasonable estimate of how many wins a players added to his team versus a replacement player. 68 percent of the players are going to have their WAR fall within a reasonable margin of error of what they actually provided. 32%, almost a third of the league, is going to have a higher variance between stated value and actual value.

                  • Drew7

                    I don’t know why it has to be an all-or-nothing-type deal, here.

                    WAR has it’s advantages. However, 3 factors make me feel it is inaccurate in determining a player’s $ value on the FA-market:

                    1) defensive metrics are at worst unreliable, and at best take several seasons to stabilize, so their inclusion in WAR can make certain player’s value misleading.

                    2) certain aspects of WAR are worth more $, since skills like baserunning and defense decline more rapidly and are easier to replace than a skill like hitting.

                    3) supply and demand determines how much $ a player will receive on the open market.

                    So, does WAR do a good job as one of the tools used to assess a player’s value? Yes. Can we use WAR to predict how much $ a player will get/is worth? No.

                    • gutshot5820

                      Ok, I agree with you to some degree. WAR is a useful tool that when used in combination with other stats and human scouting can provide a more accurate picture of a players worth. I definitely do not think it is meaningful in any way to provide an accurate reflection of how many wins and losses a player will add to a team. In addition, I do not think GM’s use WAR in any impactful way to assess a players value/contract, but it is more primarily used by baseball fans.addicted to numbers. I do think it has some value, but definitely not in the way people assess and attach salary values to it. Lastly, WAR is a combination of offensive and defensive metrics, so if you start talking about a players value in salary based on WAR and then discount Barney’s value, you have no credibility.

                    • Pat

                      Gunshot, correlation will tell you that it is useful in determining how many wins a player adds to the team. Moreso than any other measure. But that hardly means it is perfect, or that most players actually accounted for their WAR in wins. It creates an average out of large samples.

                      Take BABIP as an example. The norm is that players will average about a .300 average on balls in play. How many players do you think will have a BABIP of exactly .300? Maybe 1/4 of 1 percent. How many will fall between .295 and .305? Maybe 10 percent, and that even seems high. .275 and .325? Now we’re looking at a significant percentage, but probably not as high as you might think.

                      WAR is not perfect, and should not be taken as a absolute, but there isn’t currently a better model out there for determining player worth.

                    • Drew7

                      WAR is actually a combination of oWAR and dWAR, so if you take defense out of it you actually don’t lose credibility, you just get offensive-WAR.

                      Pat is spot-on with his response to the rest of your post: there are hundreds of variables that play a factor in determining a player’s value, so no method used to put an exact number on it is 100% accurate. That definitely doesn’t mean the methods are useless, though.

          • gutshot5820

            Ok. just so you know my previous post was sarcasm. It’s funny when people talk about WAR and free agents, and how much they should be getting in free agency based on WAR numbers, or if they are outperforming their salary based on WAR. Then totally disregard WAR when it suits them. Then rate players defense on UZR and then turnaround and say it’s positioning and whatever whenever it doesn’t.

  • Frank

    If Barney could manage to get on base more, he could conceiveably OPS in the low .700s on a regular basis, which would be stellar for a 2nd baseman with such a great defensive tool, especially being under team control for another 4 years. To those who care about WAR, his 4.7 this season is higher than all but one of Omar Vizquel’s 24 big league seasons.The question is, does that make him more valuable to the Cubs as a player or as a trade chip?

    • CubFan Paul

      “IF Barney could manage to get on base more, he could conceiveably OPS in the low .700s on a regular basis..”

      Dream on.

      • hansman1982

        The interesting part of all of this is that Barney has become a much better hitter than last year. Obviously not enough data to tell if this is a fluke or a trend but here is last years numbers compared to this years. (expressed as a percentage of PA)

        BB – 3.8% – 5.7%
        K – 11.7% – 9.7%
        HR – .3% – 1.2%
        2B/3B – 5% – 5.2%

        Also his BABIP is down 30 points – if you give him the same BABIP last year with all singles that would put his triple slash at .289/.335/.392 – OPS of .727

        Again, it is impossible to know if this is a newer version of Barney (the increased power numbers, improved BB/K) or just a statistical fluke but I would not say that 2B is a position that we need to be too concerned about next year.

        This is coming from someone that as recent as June was saying he needed to be dealt at the deadline.

        • hansman1982


          IsoD: .037 – .046
          IsoP: .077 – .103

          • CubFan Paul

            I see u workin’ ..I would still trade him and let someone else drink the Koolaid. 2013 is going to be another transition year

          • CubFan Paul

            & LOL at his identical OPS: .666-.667

            • hansman1982

              That is due to his BA being lower this year than last which is partly due to his BABIP being lower. If you give him the same BABIP as last year his numbers blow last year’s out of the water.

              Looking at the peripherals Barney has become a better overall hitter. Now is where the scouts come in to say if his approach, mechanics, etc… has improved to bring about this change or if it is all just a random fluke.

              • FFP

                His BABIP has got to come back up next year (this year .280). Perhaps part of that is bad luck. Perhaps some is due to the way he is hitting (more fly balls this year? Because of added power or changed swing?)
                I’d guess regress back to .300 (like most everybody does).

                He really has had a hidden-stellar year. Bet the front office sees it though.

                Will he be on our WS team? He’d be on mine.

                We’ve got 1st, 2nd, Short all set.

                Dear Santa and Jed,
                Please send us one third baseman, one power outfielder, and 4-8 starting pitchers.
                The 2013 Cubs

                • Drew7

                  Or he got lucky last year. Barney just puts too many non-strikes and pitchers-strikes in play to have a high BABIP.

                  • Kyle

                    I like Barney, but that seems more likely to me. The league average BABIP is about .290 right now, and Barney is neither fast nor a consistent line-drive hitter, so .280 doesn’t seem unreasonable to me at all.

                    • FFP

                      2012 BABIP .297–I think.

                    • hansman1982

                      It is .297

                      Barney isn’t a terrible hitter for a 2B. League wide OPS+ is 82 which is pretty atrocious; however, compared to 2B with >400 PA his OPS+ is 93 (matching his wOBA+ figure for 2B)

                      While he will never be an offensive force, he may put up a 105 OPS+ year compared to 2B…add on GG caliber defense and he will be worth hanging on to until someone pushes him off 2B or another team desperately wants him.

                      A plus side to his weak offensive numbers is that will make him cheaper in arbitration.

  • Mat B

    Just watched the replay. You could see how bad Rizzo felt. I couldn’t disagree more with Paul. I think the three kids on the infield are in the process of becoming an excellent cohesive unit. You can see it in their interactions. I think if the Cubs cultivate that & add a good young 3rd baseman, we could be looking at the best infield in the majors.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      One of the best, anyway.

  • Danny B

    Congrats to Barney. I got that sick feeling when I checked the box score last night, but when I saw the actual play, it made sense. Barney has been aggressive all season in trying to make tough plays. Last night was a really unfortunate turn, but at least it didn’t happen until after he tied the record. Plus, you have to love his quotes on it.

    I disagree on trading Barney. I know cliched phrases like “grinder” and ‘intangibles” are a bit overused, but I think he’s a fantastic second basemen. Sure, he’s no Kinsler or Cano, but we don’t need that at every position. I’ve been screaming that the Cubs need defense for a while, and I will take Barney’s supposed lack of offense along with his defense ANY day.

  • Danny B

    Oh and correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t Barney still break the record for highest single-season fielding percentage in 150+ games? My research ( shows Jose Oquendo with that record now at .996. I know Barney was at .997 before last night, so we still have something to get behind, right?

  • Norm

    Barney is a keeper until he becomes a free agent. Then the Cubs will rotate in another light hitting 2B. There is a long line behind him beginning with Watkins and Torreyes.

  • Rice Cube

    I don’t understand the humor of that tweet by Gordo BTW. Maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough.

    • hansman1982

      I believe its saying the players can either off themselves when it gets ugly or the Cubs are hoping the crappy ones do that…


      • Rice Cube

        Definitely not sophisticated enough to get that one then 😉

        • hansman1982

          yes, you are clearly just a little pea-brained imbicilic moranic knuckle-dragger where Gordo is the creme-dela-creme of aristocratic society. He and Paul Sullivan are the models that we should strive to become.

  • hansman1982

    Did Barney get any sort of acknowledgement from the crowd after the error?

  • ReiCow

    I’m not sick about the Darwin play at all.. he has the record, he just has to share it. If this had happened in the previous game, I would have been sick.


    • FFP

      CONGRATULATIONS, Darwin Barney. I have become a fan.
      Love his focus and his work ethic. Put on a few muscle-pounds last off season and got a bit more pop in his bat (partly) as a result. Improved his plate discipline. AND Is now the most dependable 2nd baseman in baseball.
      Love it.
      Moo, too.

      • ReiCow

        What I *AM* sad about, though, is that it isn’t even front page ESPN news. Yet another no hitter was thrown and that is front page news, but not a record tying errorless streak? Come on!


        • FFP


  • hansman1982

    Also, it is nice to see everyone own up to the error and accept it for what it is. There are numerous teams that would be petitioning the Commissioners office today to get the error on Rizzo rather than Barney.

    • Rice Cube

      I don’t think there’s anything they could have done anyway because the official scorer rules are pretty well spelled out. I’m glad they didn’t bellyache about it either.

    • BluBlud

      Bingo. I like the precedent this sets. Except responsibility and move on to the next play.

  • Clark Addison

    The best thing is it was a high risk play. He didn’t just eat the ball to get the record. I really like the was he plays the game.

  • Picklenose

    Personally, I think this was just a practice streak for Barney. Now he is ready and will be going after the 180 ish streak over the next two seasons. This thought came to me while I was hugging a bunny.
    Go get ’em Darwin!

  • Stinky Pete

    Just saw this and haven’t read it yet. But I like the website soooooo……

    • FFP

      Timely, objective , and made me feel good about my own analyses going forward.
      Thanks, Pete.

      • Stinky Pete

        It might be a small consolation when your team loses 100 games but that’s a trio of hitting prospects that could be among the best in baseball.

  • gratefulled

    Just watched the play. With a runner rounding third, Rizzo has got to stop that ball from getting by him. It’s not like the throw had much on it and it didn’t take a bad hop. To me, it seemed like Rizzo was more concerned/nervous about the record than Barney was. All-in-all, Barney still has the record, he just has to share it with someone else. Seeing how the game was in the eighth, maybe he has the record for most innings.

  • Rcleven

    Baseball America’s list of prospects. WOW. It’s going to be a long road to MLB for these kids and many will flame out but it will be exciting to watch at Kane County next year.
    Am starting to see the FO plan starting to jell. Congrat’s to Theo & Company for such a great first draft.
    Don’t know if Volgelbach was the best on that team but it is a indication this team is headed in the right direction.

  • IndyCubsFan

    LaHair got to be an All-Star….umm…Barney could’ve been a starter in the All-Star game had the voters not had their heads up their butts.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      LaHair was chosen by the league & coaching staff, not by the voters. And, after all, he did have a very impressive first half. Barney had a very underwhelming .259/.304/.362, which was the 11th best OPS among NL players logging 200 PAs and over 30 games at 2nd. (Yes, I know that these people do not use OPS most of the time: but they do use the things that elevate OPS.)

      So, we should not be surprised that Barney was omitted: unless you are Ozzie Smith, then you need to hit your way onto the All Star team.

    • Frank

      While decent, Barney hadnt done anything note able when all star voting went down. And LaHair was a managers pick, not a fan vote.

  • RoughRiider

    I wonder if the record was for consecutive innings or total chances who would have the record? I’m guessing it will come out at some point. Just for the record, I have been a Barney follower since they drafted him and in my humble opinion they should keep him until they have someone better to play second. Right now he is the best option at second and if something was to happen to Castro he would be the best option at SS. It would be a huge mistake to trade him at this point. Cubfan Paul, I agree with a lot of things you say. But. trading him now isn’t one of them.

  • Caleb

    Barney for heisman!

  • Internet Random

    I have way more respect for Barney for trying to make a tough play than I would have had for him playing to protect a streak.

    It’s a little reminiscent of the story about Ted Williams saying he wouldn’t deserve to have a .400 season if he didn’t hit .400 all the way… this in response to an offer from the manager for Williams to sit out his last at bats to preserve his average.

    I’m also reminded, in the opposite way, of Quade playing vets at the end of last year’s lost season instead of giving the younger guys a chance to get some MLB experience… just so the vets could make some numbers that only they cared about.

    Eff Quade.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, Quade was managing to get enough victories to return as manager. Having the veterans achieve those numbers increased the chances of the Cubs winning enough to make that happen. (As should be obvious, it’s not like the Cubs were leaving a lot of talent on their bench: and, no, Colvin was not going to get to swing in Coors for the Cubs….)

      • Internet Random

        Actually, Quade was managing to get enough victories to return as manager.

        I must have missed his triumphant return. When was that exactly?

  • Jeff L

    Good article! I didn’t realize that Joe Ricketts wanted to help fund the Republican party and a big reason he didn’t get the funding from the mayer.

    • Scotti

      I disagree about the quality of the article. No where was the fact that Laura Ricketts–an actual owner–runs a Democrat PAC and that she is the driving force behind MLB/Cubs support of gay rights (as the only openly gay owner in MLB). And a better way to put the Joe Ricketts issue is that he REJECTED the proposal put before him. Stuff gets put before political figures and PACs all of the time and they have control of ONE thing–what they authorize, accept, support, run with. Joe Ricketts rejected the Wright issues.

      Also missing was the fact that the “attendance” figures quoted are on tickets SOLD (mostly before the season even starts). The figures next year will reflect the actual numbers this year–all of those tickets that folks can’t give away this year won’t be purchased unless A) the team lowers prices and/or the team actually wins some games.

      • Pat

        What do you mean by “an actual owner”? I’m reading that to mean Joe isn’t. He isn’t on the board of directors as far as I know, but the board doesn’t own the team. The “Ricketts Family Trust” does. Seeing as Joe put up all of the money (into the trust fund), and unless he is a total moron (doubtful), he has controlling interest in the trust fund, to be dispersed amongst the kids when he passes. There is video of Joe talking about how Tom talked him into the purchase. If Joe didn’t control the money, why would Tom have to do that?

        Now I’ll agree that the article is way off. The idea that fans aren’t showing up because of the political thoughts of one of the owners is rediculous. They aren’t showing up because the team sucks this year.

        • Jeff L


          The article is not saying that the fans aren’t showing up because of Joe Ricketts political interest. It suggests that they aren’t getting funding from the Mayer (city of Chicago) because of those interests and how he wants to fund the Republican party.

          Your right fans arent showing up and hopefully will continue not to show up because the Cubs put a horrible product on the field.

  • lou brock lives

    Saw on MLB trade Rumors that the Toronto Blue Jays GM said they will be shopping for a # 1 starting pitcher, a second baseman, & a power hitting DH. I think we just might have a match here with the Cubs considering our needs.
    How about Garza, Barney, & Soriano/LaHair for d’Arnaud (C) Nolin (LHP) Syndergaard (RHP) & maybe another pitcher from their minor league system.

    • Drew7

      The Cubs would have to throw in Rizzo, and still eat a ton of money.

      • someday…2015?

        The sad thing is we would probably have to wait till at least mid spring training to see a deal involving Garza, and that is highly unlikely. If a deal like that did happen, wow what a score it would be. I believe if the Cubs pulled off a deal like that they would easily have the top minor league system in the whole major leagues.

        • nkniacc13

          I doubt Garza get traded until just before the regular season starts

    • art

      soriano likes it here.

  • ruby2626

    I don’t feel bad for Barney in the slightest, wasn’t it about 2 weeks ago he blew a ball to his right and the official scorer called it a hit, horrible call, that was an error every day of the week. I do like the way he plays, if he could just get a few more walks and get the OBP at .320 or so he would be very valuable.