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darwin barney smileWhen the Seattle Mariners signed Robinson Cano to the OMGLOL contract of the offseason, folks naturally speculated that the New York Yankees would be desperate to replace him at second base. Wishful thinkers in the Cubs fan online contingent immediately pointed to Darwin Barney, as though he was clearly the next level of option just behind Cano.

I joke, though there was a touch of logic to it, given that Barney’s long-term future in Chicago is in doubt beyond July or so, when Javier Baez and/or Arismendy Alcantara could theoretically push for time in the bigs. Further, Barney’s super-glove-lighter-bat approach could work well mixed with the Yankees’ glove-weak infield, and his bat could be hidden in their lineup a bit better than it has been with the Cubs.

Predictably, though, the Yankees gonna Yankee, and they turned their attention to a more attractive replacement for Cano, free agent second baseman Omar Infante. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Infante just inked a four-year, $30.25 million deal with the Royals, and the Yankees have to go digging again.

Enter Barney?

Yes, says Bruce Levine, who today reports that the Yankees’ interest in a trade for Barney could pick up again now that Infante has signed. Levine, who had previously suggested a Barney/Yankees connection, says that the two sides have indeed previously discussed the second baseman.

Barney, 28, is coming off an abysmal year at the plate (though his walk rate was up and his ISO was normal – the real problem was the .222 BABIP, which was more than 50 points lower than his career mark coming into the season), but his glove was as fantastic as ever. By the advanced metrics, Barney should have won his second consecutive Gold Glove. He’s eligible for arbitration for the first time this year, and he’s likely to make something between $2 and $3 million.

For the Yankees, Barney could platoon with Kelly Johnson at second, could be a full-time starter there, or could simply provide late-inning defensive help all over the infield. Given the low cost, he makes some sense in a variety of roles. That said, you wouldn’t be looking for Barney to net much in return. A Barney-plus-minor-league-piece for Brett Gardner deal would be interesting, given Gardner’s availability. He’s a free agent after this season, though, so his long-term value to the Cubs could be limited (then again, he could always be flipped at the deadline, or made a qualifying offer at the end of the year, depending on how well he performs). If a deal like that doesn’t work, you’re probably looking at Barney for a minor league arm without a ton of upside or with a bevy of flaws.

One thing worth noting is that the Yankees don’t have to pick up a second baseman. They’ve already signed Kelly Johnson, who could play there, as well as Brendan Ryan. Even if Alex Rodriguez is suspended, they’ll have the bodies to cover the infield. (And, let’s be honest: Darwin Barney doesn’t provide that much more than “cover”.) The Yankees could also elect to step up and try and grab Brandon Phillips, who is eminently available from the Reds. It has been reported that the Yankees rejected a Phillips-for-Gardner swap, however, partly because Phillips used his partial no-trade clause (the Yankees are a team to which Phillips can reject a deal) to ask for a re-worked contract. Given that he’s already set to be overpaid over the next four years, the Yankees balked.

Nevertheless, Barney and the Yankees is something to keep an eye on. If Barney were dealt, you’d likely see Luis Valbuena sliding over to second base in something close to a full-time role (he’s been playing second base full-time in Venezuela this Winter at the request of the Cubs), and/or would see Logan Watkins get a chance to click.

  • http://bleachernation Ferris

    Far as barney goes yes week bat,but that defense vant be ignored hes also a smart fundamental player

  • http://BleacherNation.com Andrew Korb

    Cubs just extended Shark

    • http://BleacherNation.com Andrew Korb

      That’s what Dan Dackich thought

    • MichiganGoat

      I see nothing, got a link?

      • http://BleacherNation.com Andrew Korb

        I’m pretty he didn’t actually sign but here’s his tweet – “Had 2 rewind DVR 2 make sure heard it right, but ESPN’s Indiana-ND hoops broadcast said Jeff Samardzija has resigned w/ #Cubs for $55 mil.”

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          I seriously doubt that. That was the offer that has been standing.

  • Chicago Joe

    Brett,

    Just saw your retweet about Shark extension.

    I rewound twice. I believe Dakisch’s intent was to say that he wants Jeff to sign for $55 million. It was something like, “just sign for $55 million” not “he just signed for $55 million.”

    • http://BleacherNation.com Andrew Korb

      I’m pretty he didn’t actually sign but here’s his tweet – “Had 2 rewind DVR 2 make sure heard it right, but ESPN’s Indiana-ND hoops broadcast said Jeff Samardzija has resigned w/ #Cubs for $55 mil.”

      • Chicago Joe

        Is Dakich a Cubs fan? It sounded like a fans plea to Jeff to just sign.

        I don’t think there is anyway at this point $55 million would get the extension done.

        • Chicago Joe

          Dakich just clarified on Twitter.

          He was asking Jeff to sign. No chance for that #…

        • CubFan Paul

          “I don’t think there is anyway at this point $55 million would get the extension done”

          $58M-$60M would. That’s probably the middle ground.

          • Chicago Joe

            I just don’t think the sides are very close right now.

            If they were, not sure if the trade talks would be so hot. All signs indicate Jeff looking for market rate when not on the market, has 2 years left. Market value would likely be $16-18/year if not more.

          • bbmoney

            “$58M-$60M would. That’s probably the middle ground.”

            I doubt it.

    • In the Burgh

      Pouting about how the news broke. Will now sign with another team

  • Kernzee

    The hatred for Barney is very over done . Advanced metrics are here to stay and with just cause , but they are not the only way to evaluate a players contribution . Every sabrematician in the world panned the choices the Red Sox made last off season . Have we learned nothing from that ?

    • roz

      I’m sure both old-school people and new-school people said things about every single team that ended up not being true. Discounting any method of analysis simply because in one season it didn’t think highly of the team that ended up winning it all is very short-sighted.

      • Kernzee

        I’m not at all discounting statistical analysis . Real baseball and fantasy baseball are not the same game . Darwin Barney is one of the players that will never be appreciated for the contributions he makes because many of them are unquantifiable . That’s all I’m trying to get across .

        • MichiganGoat

          I’m not asking to get into a fight over this but I’d like to know what Barney does that is unquantifiable? A metric like wOBA is very helpful and uses all the traditional stats in a better way and it shows that Barney is not good offensively, the issue with advanced stats is how we measure and value defense and I guess is one of unquantifiable things you talking about.

          • DarthHater

            “I’d like to know what Barney does that is unquantifiable?”

            This:

            [img]http://www.bleachernation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/darwin-barney-smile.jpg[/img]

            • wvcubsfan

              TWTWWTTT

              The will to win without the talent.

              • DarthHater

                What does the last “T” stand for? :-P

                • wvcubsfan

                  It stands for “where the heck is the edit button”

    • Drew7

      Advanced metrics are what won Barney his GG, and are also the reason some are optimistic that he will rebound offensively.

    • MichiganGoat

      I’m also not sure why you are seeing hatred, we hated Milton Bradley and Ian Stewart for obvious reasons but I do t see much hate for Barney just a desire to have something better. I like my car and house but won’t like to have something better, doesn’t mean I hate them.

  • Funn Dave

    Oh, so now that I actually have time to check BN, the news dies down. I see how it is :P

  • YourResidentJag

    Chris Cotillo ‏@ChrisCotillo 18m
    #Braves are close to adding Gavin Floyd, according to @ajcbraves. @EddieInTheYard said he was close to signing

    Takes them out of Shark rumors. Not that I thought they were a big part of it in the 1st place.

  • Kernzee

    Managers and coaches vote for the gold glove . I doubt they spent a lot of time analyzing the stats . It’s far more likely they voted based on what they saw .

  • Kernzee

    Being a leader , being a positive influence in the clubhouse , getting clutch hits , calming your pitcher down after an error , the list can go on and on . It’s the little things that often are the difference between winning and losing . Is Darwin Barney a great or even an above average player ? No . But you will wake up 9 or ten years from now and still see his name in the box scores because he excels in doing those little things that do matter .

    • MichiganGoat

      Thank you for your honest responses

    • DarthHater

      Well, I think “getting clutch hits” is questionable, both as applied to Barney and as a repeatable skill, more generally. The other items are legit, but I still wonder how much leadership and positive and calming influence it takes to make up for a .252 wOBA?

      • MichiganGoat

        Well clutch hitting doesn’t really exist, we have memories of players doing amazing things at big moments and forever they are “clutch” but a bad hitter is a bad hitter and a good hitter is a good hitter. As for the leadership part it might not hurt but I just don’t see how it can help a player hit, now maybe Barney is FO bound?

        • wilbur

          he’s always reminded me of joey cora, although I’ve never bothered to compare their stats. So, the similarity to me is unquantifiable, but no less justifiable in my mind.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Barney and Cora are very different hitters. In particular, Cora had an excellent batting eye: he walked 10% of the time. He was a legitimate leadoff batter, even in the 1990′s when the strike zone was more theoretical than actual.

            Cora also K’ed a bit less than Barney: indeed, Cora often K’ed less than he walked, which is never common.

            • SenorGato

              This made me go back and look at the 90′s AL offensive numbers…OBP peaked during Cora’s career…league average in the AL…at .350. That’s insane. League OBP is 30+ points lower the past couple of seasons, and ~25 points lower over the past 3-4.

              I’m wondering if I miss those days of baseball. They were really fun years for the league/s.

        • cub2014

          We need to add:
          Choo,D.Brown,Axford,Tanaka or some
          one like Garza and someone like Baker
          Adds: 50mil in payroll

          To do this we need move:
          Ejax,Barney,Russell & Schierholtz
          Deducts: 22mil in payroll.

          For Brown, I would trade Ejax,Russell
          & mid level minor leaguer or two.

          Trade Barney & Schierholtz for
          prospects.

          Brings our payroll up to 100mil. Gives us
          young guys with control without loosing
          top prospects. Then our lineup and pitching
          looks way better.

          start season
          choo
          castro
          brown
          castillo
          rizzo
          lake
          watkins/valbuena
          olt

          by july
          choo
          castro
          brown
          baez/bryant
          rizzo
          baez/bryant
          alcantera/valbuena
          castillo

          pitching
          garza or tanaka
          wood
          samardizja
          arrieta
          baker or villanueva or grimm
          or rusin

    • jarder

      How do you know someone is a good clubhouse guy? All we have to go on are biased repors and generic statements. By all accounts Barney is a great guy, but we don’t know what effect that has, we can’t quantify it or really know if the reports are truth.

  • Kernzee

    Hatred was too strong of a word

  • DarthHater

    This entire discussion of Barney has overlooked a crucially important question: Does he speak Spanish?

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      Don’t know how to take that comment. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the Dominican Republic and can say that a lot of the kids down there are lucky to have a real ball glove. I’ve seen them use balls made from plastic bottles and sticks for bats. Here in the U.S. we have many different sports competing for athletes. Down there it is baseball. Baseball is king. Regrettably too many kids in America have their faces buried in some computer game while munching on cheetos.. Obesity is an epidemic here. Under these circumstances it’s no surprise that Latin players are excelling in MLB,

      • DarthHater

        It was not intended seriously, but was a joking reference back to the heated discussions here a couple weeks ago over whether the ability to speak Spanish was an important quality for a managerial candidate.

        • http://bleachernation.com woody

          Pardon me. It’s just that I have lived many years in Latin America and am sensitive to some of the unwarranted bashing that goes on. But you have to admit that with the exception of Rizzo and Bryant the majority of the Cubs lineup in the coming years appears to be predominately Dominican or Venezuelan. That’s why that new facility down there was a really keen move by the FO and ownership.

          • wilbur

            It was a keener move before they changed the international signings rules. Makes it harder to foster talent and keep it for your own team. Now you can lose more prospects from your facility than you can keep, if other teams decide to go after them after you have developed them.

  • waffle

    Mueller will get him to .300, easy.

    .250?

    I have so say that one of the things I am looking forward to is the impact of Mueller. I LOVED watching him bat back in the day. A PROFESSIONAL

  • DarthHater

    The Red Sox have signed pitcher John Ely and re-signed Miguel Celestino to minor-league deals. Guess they had better start printing those repeat World Series tickets! ;-)

    • SenorGato

      I actually like Ely some.

  • http://bleachernation Ferris

    If qe wont sign choo..give sczcr a chance to lead off.

  • Die hard

    Theo missed Pelfrey another TJ survivor- he could’ve helped Cubs now but Twins got him

  • danahoo.com

    Barney is what he is a great glove great person great teammate but a poor hitter do not hate him for that he gives his all and maybe he would fit better with a team that does not need offence but we do

  • http://bleachernation Ferris

    Weve got a ton of rh power comming over the nxt 18months or so….we could sign garza or arroyo if we cant get tanaka if we can we sign tanaka sure…trade shark for…..sanchez,drabeck an rassmus for shark…..then vogleback, vitters an bjaxx to t.b. for price

    Then sign choo….then you have rassmus an shurholtz and barney to get us more young pitching.

    None of that is unrealistic imo

    Rf choo
    Cf sczcr an sweeny
    Ss castro
    1B rizzo
    3B olt
    Lf lake
    2B roberts
    C castillo

    Lh price
    Rh garza..arroyo..tanaka
    Lh wood
    Rh jackson
    ???????

    An weve not traded any of our top guys away.fft yes i was bored….

    • BWA

      Ya, Thats not nearly enough for price, but good try. Maybe if you add almora and alcantara/johnson

    • MichiganGoat

      ” vogleback, vitters an bjaxx to t.b. for price”
      That would result in laughter and a loud click from Tampa. Baez,
      No amount of quantity will get Price we would have to give up a big four and more.

    • kd22

      I’m sure if thats all its going to take to get Price he would have been traded by now.

  • Die hard

    From Sporting News giving kudos to Chicago Cubs: Justin Ruggiano, acquired on Thursday morning for Brian Bogusevic, had a .738 OPS with 15 of his 18 home runs in 2013 away from Marlins Park. Put him in Wrigley and the Cubs should expect solid production in exchange for an outfielder who turns 30 in February, has a .682 career OPS, and could only get into 47 games for a dreary North Side lot this year.

  • X The Cubs Fan

    Jorge Soler, Mike Olt, Pierce Johnson, Kyle Hendricks and Arismendy Alcantra for Chris Sale and Alejandro De Aza.

  • Die hard

    Cubs should acquire rights to Heisman winner and offer him 10 million bonus to give up football as he could start at pitcher in 2 yrs

    • Carew

      Nah, the Heisman winner is an outfielder

  • Eric

    ABTY over at PSD named a couple yankee pitching prospects for Barney, Jose Ramirez or Nik Turley. I think either would be very acceptable for Barney considering his replacement should be ready by the end of the year.

  • Die hard

    I’ve suggested this before and with Valbuena learning 2B maybe Cubs considering carrying Barney as weak hitting SS with moving Castro to 3B ?

    • Voice of Reason

      Diehard, your idea of moving Castro to third and Barney to short is not good in so many different ways.

    • Dustin S

      I would put the odds fairly high that Valbuena will at least get a lot of the starting time at 2B, if not the full starting gig if Barney is dealt. I also thought there was a good chance of Castro ending up at 3B before Bryant was drafted and they got Olt. But I doubt Barney ends up at short. Defensively for whatever reason as great as he is at 2B he tends to have problems at short.

      In the end if all goes well the Cubs should soon have Alcantara, Baez, and Castro to shoehorn into the middle and left-side of the infield. It’s ironic that defensively they are all about the same; lots of amazing highlight reel plays but also too many errors on routine plays. It will likely either work itself out if one of Alcantara/Baez never make it to the bigs or if Castro is traded. In the long run I’d rather see a power third baseman for this lineup more like Bryant, or Olt if they get lucky and he rebounds.

      • DocPeter Wimsey

        The “too many errors on routine plays” is sort of like “most car accidents are within X miles from home.” The vast majority of plays are look pretty routine, so most errors happen there.

        However, fielders with good range also make more playe look routine: however, when a guy moves rapidly to his left or right, slams in the brakes and stops, the play might look like it is routine, but it is not: that transfer of momentum is still there AND the brain has to perform complex tTrigonometry to adjust from tacking a ball while moving to tracking it while stationary: and that is why ball appear to hook when you did that while playing.

        So, it is less simple than this description. Moreover, if the range that turns 25 singles into outs turns 15 outs into singles, then it is still a net gain

    • cub2014

      Diehard, play 3 guys out of their normal positions?

    • DarthHater

      Yea, leave the same three guys in the lineup, but play them all out of position. Why didn’t I think of that?

  • cub2014

    Castro is the shortstop (per Mcleod yesterday)
    Valbuena playing 2nd because Barney is going
    away and in case Watkins-Baez-Alcantera dont
    workout. Also means Olt will probably start at 3rd

  • http://bleachernation.com d biddle

    I would like to see the Cubs trade Olt to the Marlins. They are looking for a 3rd baseman. Olt is rated as the #58 best prospect. I would like to receive either pitcher Heaney #49 or Nicolino #59 in return. It would be a win-win trade. What do you think?

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      With many projecting Bryant to play the outfield it would be premature to not see what Olt can do. Before his vision problems he was very highly regarded. If his vision problems are really behind him then who is to say that he might not be the starter on opening day and for many years thereafter.

  • Die hard

    Another trade with Marlins who are desperate for 3B?

  • http://bleachernation.com d biddle

    The Cubs need pitching depth more than they need Olt. The Cubs have depth in 3rd basemen. Many minor leaguers are soon to be ready. If I could get Heaney or Nicolino, I would trade Olt.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Need Olt right now. If Olt can regain his stroke we are waaaay better going forward. Vitters is off 3rd. There are doubts about Bryant sticking. Baez is more valuable at SS or 2B. Cadalario is away off. We’re not going to jump arguably the 3 best teams in the NL next year. So why gamble with our 3B options when we don’t look to be competitive? Next December we’ll know which if any of these guys is the 3Bman. Then we can trade.

  • Phil Oddo

    Just a quick question: when do you guys think Matt Sczur and Alcantara will come up to the bigs?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      September at the latest. Maybe as soon as August, but I doubt much before that.

      • TOOT

        How much of an impact do see them making if indeed they do come up?

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