And Then There Was One: Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Darwin Barney

darwin barney smileYou knew Jeff Samardzija would be the last one, right?

Today, according to Jon Heyman, the Chicago Cubs and Darwin Barney avoided arbitration on a one-year, $2.3 million contract for 2014. That was the midpoint between the Cubs’ offer ($1.8 million) and Barney’s ask ($2.8 million), and, as I analyzed earlier in the week, Barney should probably feel pretty good about that salary.

This is Barney’s first year in arbitration, and the healthy salary sets him up for a raise in 2015, even if he is eventually displaced at second base. In that way, Barney may have done well today, but clouded up his future: if he projects to make too much in arbitration in 2015, the Cubs will non-tender him after this season.

In any case, it’s always preferable to settle these things, and everyone can resume hoping that Barney improves dramatically with the bat this year (some positive regression is definitely expected), and continues doing the Gold Glove thing at second base. If he does that, at least the Cubs will have some options as they proceed with the future configuration of the infield.

And now the Cubs will return to trying to work out a deal with Jeff Samardzija before his hearing on Monday.

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

49 responses to “And Then There Was One: Cubs Avoid Arbitration with Darwin Barney”

  1. Cubbie Tim

    How cam the cubs justify giving Hammels $6.5 & offering Shark $4.6?

    1. bbmoney

      Because Shark isn’t a FA and the price reflects that.

    2. Featherstone

      Because Hammels was a Free Agent and Shark is a 2nd time Arb eligible player?

    3. Jon

      The better question would beg, how come they can meet Barney in the “middle” but not Shark?

      1. Chad

        Is Shark willing to meet in the middle? I know I know, who would have thought that it quite possibly might not be the cub’s fault.

      2. Eternal Pessimist

        …or u might as why is shark willing to meet in the middle (how do u know it is the Cubs are unwilling?)…or u might ask, why is shark asking so much more than another 2nd year arb eligible pitcher with similar performance.

        I guess the way u ask hour questions are based on what your pre-programmed assumptions.

      3. Jon

        Bruce Levine said it was over 100K. I’m giving the benefit of the doubt that it’s over more than that. I’d even say, why can’t the Cubs meet Shark 3/4 of the way? He’s a valuable asset whether you keep or trade him.

        1. hansman

          Probably because both sides are still motivated to complete a long-term extension?

        2. roz

          Do you have any evidence of where exactly the Cubs are willing to meet Samardzija?

      4. Voice of Reason

        Jon:

        Because barney is a free agent and shark isn’t.

        1. Drew7

          No

  2. Eternal Pessimist

    Looks like the last year for Barney as a Cub, and without serious improvement at the plate he won’t garner much in a trade. I don’t see him improving enough to make him worth next years salary jump, but who knows.

  3. cubs2003

    Good for Barney. I really hope his bat comes around a bit. Seems like a good guy. I hate to use the term “intangibles”, but for this young, struggling club it might be worthwhile. Here’s to hoping he OPS’ ~700 and plays Gold Glove defense.

    1. Hee Seop Chode

      Or has an OPS of .850 and plays league average defense.

      1. cubs2003

        If he can make that happen, it would be great. Not holding my breath, though.

  4. Justin

    Seems like a waste of $2.5 Million to me… Why not keep that $2.5 Million and apply it towards something that matters when you’re actually trying to win. Never hurts too have a little more cash to throw at legit free agents, hopefully next yr finally.

    1. Jason P

      They have a payroll of $80 million. No reason to penny pinch here and sign someone for $1 million instead of 2.5. If they want to pursue a big free agent next year, money shouldn’t be a problem (and even if it was, $1.5 million won’t make the difference). They’ve already saved plenty.

      1. Justin

        I understand all that, and am all for the Cubs spending like crazy, but just view Barney as worthless I guess.. It never hurts to have a couple extra million either in an aggressive market for studs.

  5. Stu

    I would like to find a source regarding defensive WAR and the proof that it translates to wins.

    Does anyone credible question it?

    1. Kyle

      The simple answer is that we know that certain defensive observations/inputs correlate with runs, and runs correlate to wins.

  6. SenorGato

    Seems plenty fair to me, and there’s a plus in that this is his age 28 season. I’m cautiously optimistic that he’ll OPS somewhere close to .700 with his usual defense.

    1. Jason P

      .270/.320/.370? That’s major improvement across the board.

      1. Jason P

        *.270/.320/.380

        1. SenorGato

          Doesn’t HAVE to be .700….I’d take .270/.315/.365 no problem, and I think he’s very capable of that.

          The good thing is that he did post .700+ OPSs in the upper minors so it wouldn’t blow my mind that he pulled one out of his ass at 28. I really think the key with Barney is that he had fortuitous timing – first arb at 28 is perfect for these crappy days to be a Cub. Yes, I’m really hung up on him being 28 and think that’s a pretty big key to his season.

  7. notcubbiewubbie

    here we go again!! damn that dan bernstein.

  8. Steve

    ‘If Barney was on a good team his bat wouldn’t be that much of an issue due to his defense”

    Well, good team, come take him !!!

  9. VittersStartingLF

    I think they have not reached a one year deal with Shark because they are still working on an extension. I wonder if Shark is lowering his demands after seeing the bottom drop out for free agent pitchers this winter. When you figure he will make around $15 million the next two years with arbitration, he has to ask himself what are my first three agent years worth if I sign a five year deal. If he doesn’t sign an extension, one of three things will happen. He will pitch better (like a 1-2), he will stay the same or regress (3-4 starter) or he will get injured. Two of those three options leads to a contract like Garza got (12.5 million a year). If he becomes a 1-2 option, yes he can cash in (20 million a year maybe??). So Shark and Cubs should compromise. 15 million for Arb years plus 15-17 million a year for free agent years. That comes out to around 5 years, 65 million. Let’s get it done!

  10. Steve

    Shave 10 mill off that deal and I’ll sign off on it.

    Otherwise, ship him out

  11. Diehardthefirst

    Shark should do a version of what Dawson did- let Cubs fill in new contract price for 2014 and in exchange he gets full release after season- let’s see how motivated he becomes

  12. woody

    I hope Barney can follow Theriot and go to a team and win a championship when he leaves the cubs. I know we need an upgrade, but he really is a class act.

    1. Diehardthefirst

      Marlins have Marmol- or vice versa- laying groundwork for trade?

      1. DarthHater

        No, trade. They’re gonna make Marmol a starter! :-P

  13. Jon

    On Comcast tonight they said the Samardzija case is likely to go to arbitration. If so, it will be funny to hear the front office apostles defend that one…..

    1. hansman

      Shark is clearly a bum that a hates the Cubs.

    2. Norm

      I haven’t followed this angle, are you saying that if it does go to arbitration its the fault of the front office?

      1. MichiganGoat

        Yup everything according to Jon is a negative mark against Ricketts and the FO – EVERYTHING!

    3. Sandberg

      Who cares if it goes to arbitration?

      1. mdavis

        i wouldnt blast FO if it does. i mean, it happens, thats why the process is there. but it can get ugly. you’re basically sitting there saying all the negative things about a player why he isn’t worth the money he’s asking. hopefully it doesn’t come to that, because ya never know.

      2. Jon

        I thought the general consensus was that avoiding a hearing was always the preferred scenario?

        1. bbmoney

          Sure, preferred because it can get ugly. But if the player is really asking for too much, by quite a bit, based on what they should make, not as a FA, but under the arbitration system than sometimes you might just have to do it.

          Shark’s request seemed high based on most of the estimates I’ve seen for what he should be getting based on his performance. Of course the Cubs’ offer seemed low too…..so we’ll see.

          For instance MLBTR projected Shark for 4.9M this year in Arb. They aren’t always crazy accurate, but that’s pretty far off Shark’s request.

          1. Jon

            Understood, I think Shark is a bit of different case here then say a Darwin Barney. Barney is maybe necessary for the short term, but in reality, he’s not in the long term plans.

            If this goes to a hearing, and it get’s real ugly what does that do to the chances of an extension?

            And if this goes to a hearing, and animosity is created, IMO, other clubs know an extension is unlikely and knocks the CUbs leverage down a bit in trades.

            1. bbmoney

              All valid concerns and I agree to a certain extent. Although I don’t think its a slam dunk that if they give him exactly what he wants it’d really help with an extension.

              I’ll add arbitration is tough for Shark because his career numbers (wins, starts, IPs) are low, and that’s what they base a lot of the arbitration salaries on, because he hasn’t been a starter the whole time. Probably makes him feel like he’s getting the raw end of the deal. If he had been starting, and he probably wants to be valued like a starter now, he’d be worth quite a bit more in Arb.

    4. BT

      I know you have a restraining order against me, but seriously dude, did Theo shake you down for lunch money as a kid or something?

      1. MichiganGoat

        A therapist could get quite famous breaking down where this hate stems from- but I think it would scare everyone.

        1. Jon

          MG, I am curious why you get the interpretation that I am angry(full of hate). As I type this, I’m sipping my declious DD coffee, enjoying the Friday, going through emails and probably spending too much time on BN.

          Questioning approaches or why things are being done a certain way does not always equal rage

          1. Isaac

            You don’t seem hateful to me; you just seemingly trend towards being pessimistic. Easy to do as a Cubs fan.

  14. Diehardthefirst

    Cashner 2.4 in Arbitration? Thought he was a Cubs afterthought? Good for him !!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.