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darwin barney gold glove

I got in last night just after midnight, so I didn’t have a chance to talk to the family before this morning. At 5am, The Wife wakes me to alert me that The Little Girl started throwing up. Home!

  • Darwin Barney, who played shortstop on Thursday in the absence of Starlin Castro, is saying some very smart things about his time out there. To Cubs.com: “There was a time when going back to shortstop felt more comfortable than playing second base …. After a few innings, I felt really comfortable and you find out how much you miss that position …. I think I have value [at shortstop]. I’m pretty good over there, and I like it over there, too.” I find it particularly interesting that Barney, a very smart dude, dropped the “value” word when discussing his ability at shortstop.
  • Is Barney planning for the future? As a preliminary matter, Barney isn’t going to see much time at shortstop with the Cubs – even a long-term Castro injury wouldn’t guarantee a move over to short for Barney, particularly when the roster already figures to feature Emilio Bonifacio and Donnie Murphy (with Javy Baez waiting in the wings). But, long-term for Barney’s career, demonstrating that he can play effective shortstop could help him find his next job. Giving the impending influx of infield talent, together with Barney’s escalating arbitration salary, I think we’re very likely to see Barney non-tendered (or traded) by the Cubs next offseason, assuming he’s still on the team by the tender deadline. From there, Barney would be a free agent who may have to market himself as a utility infielder to find a reasonably wage. Playing some shortstop now could help (in addition to helping the Cubs showcase him a little bit if there’s a team out there right now desperate for a middle infielder).
  • Speaking of Castro, he’s still intent on playing 162 games this year, and could resume baseball activities (hamstring) this coming week. Castro says he was locked in at the plate before the injury, and he plans to keep things that way.
  • As I guessed yesterday, Edwin Jackson was just throwing fastballs in his recent Spring outing, which netted some less than desirable results.
  • Patrick Mooney with a profile on Kris Bryant. Carrie Muskat with a profile on Justin Ruggiano.
  • Josh Vitters is healthy and Cubs officials were very pleased with his attitude and shape upon entering Spring Training. Odds remain strong that Vitters will start the season at Iowa as the starting left fielder, but he could easily make an appearance in the big leagues at some point if he hits as well as he has the last two years, and if he shows he can handle the position. With Junior Lake increasingly seeing time in center field, maybe the Cubs are dreaming on the possibility of a Vitters/Lake/Schierholtz outfield by midseason, with Ryan Sweeney and Justin Ruggiano being exceptional 4th and 5th outfielders.
  • Joe Maddon and the Rays, naturally, are working on ways to take advantage of the new instant replay rules. I suppose it’s likely that all teams are thinking about these things (read: the Cubs better be), but since the Rays are what they are, the questions are asked and the news is reported.
  • ColoCubFan

    I guess I’ve always been kind of a Darwin Barney fan. If he could just get his batting back to where it was a couple of years ago, he would either be a valuable bench player, or decent trade material. I don’t understand the non-tender thing that people are wishing for.

    • ssckelley

      I have not seen too many wish for Barney to be non tendered. I think most of us are hoping he can bounce back offensively so the Cubs can get something more than a bag of balls in a trade for him.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I wouldn’t say “wishing” for a non-tender; it’s just that, unless there’s a big turnaround this year, it’s hard to see him being worth $4+ million to the Cubs next year.

      • Javier Bryant

        Which is why they trade him, even if it’s for a lottery ticket arm

    • Kyle

      I think it’s 50/50.

      If we don’t have four better infielders than Darwin Barney at this time next year, then God hates us and all is lost. But he’ll get something in the area of $3m in arbitration, and that’s not an ungodly amount for a backup infielder, but it’s enough to make me kind of want to explore cheaper options.

      • Javier Bryant

        I’d rather give a guy like Watkins, or even Bonifacio the job as a backup infielder since they’d be much cheaper options

        • Kyle

          Watkins would be cheaper.

          Bonifacio makes more than Barney this year if he makes the team, and would be in the same price range next year.

  • Ivy Walls

    Brett good luck with the home rush. True story, 1st Friday evening as a 30 yr old 3mo dad alone when my wife went back to work who was a Bank Manager and would work till 9 PM, picked up daughter and she projectiles in back car seat (lucky it was a Toyota P’UP extra cab all vinyl) and I mean projectile when it was -0 in Jan, took daughter out at home, cradled her in $400 suit and went in, bathed & cleaned her up, called doc made appointment and put her to bed, then scraped vomit out of truck back while daughter sleeped, with monitor, got back in at 9:30 as wife pulled in expecting/hoping nice dinner…surprise parenthood, panic and then I did well—lesson learned either parent can handle it.

    Now, as for Barney and Vitters:

    Barney’s only value now is a defensive utility player—period. That value is not on the Cubs so what you think might be next off season is wishful thinking for a fan favorite. Unless Cubs make a trade and possibly even if they do with Castro, Barney is ticketed to be fitted for another uniform. Can’t have his offensive WAR or OPS on this team, just can’t.

    Vitters, he is an interesting option for a 25th player. A platoon in LF and/or 1B is something that adds value to a club that need, no screams in game versatility and need for some offense punch.

  • Good Captain

    I understand ST is a time for players to work on an aspect of their game, but I’m curious as to the potential need for Jackson to work on his fastball. What, if anything, might that be an indication of?

    • gocatsgo2003

      Pitchers do this every year. It takes a little while to get touch back on pitches and often doesn’t make much sense to throw breaking balls while building out arm strength. Nothing to see here.

    • TWC

      “What, if anything, might that be an indication of?”

      Um, the off-season?

      • Funn Dave

        It was an innocent question. No need to get snarky.

  • Kyle

    If Josh Vitters right now isn’t better than the McDonald, Coghlan, Kalish tier of 5th outfield candidates, then that’s got to be pretty much it for him. He doesn’t need more time in Iowa, so that’s one hell of a vote of no confidence from the organization.

  • CubChymyst

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Lake batted himself out of the starting outfield rotation by mid-season.

    • Ivy Walls

      Basing on hunch, observation of empirical projection because the projection services have him between .250-.275 wRC+ ranging between 82-102, but what happens if the Cubs acquire a LH starting CF’er or LF’er and Lake goes to a more appropriate role of platoon and 4th OF’er.

      That said this seems to be in conflict with what took place in the winter Dom League where Lake had a line of .343 batting average with a .457 slugging percentage.

      • CubChymyst

        If the 102 you are quoting is from fangraphs then that is based off of fan projects which I wouldn’t trust and Oliver is generally very generous with its projects. Based off of the other 2 projects you’ve got a +RC around 85 and an OBP around 0.300. I think there will be other options that will out perform that.

  • josh ruiter

    Any chance we could work with the Mets on a Shark/Barney for Syndegaard/Molina/Montero package? I know they probably don’t want to deal Syndegaard but with ownership wanting to reach the playoffs NOW and their little spending spree this offseason, paired with their need for another arm and affinity for Barney as a SS…what are the chances it could happen? That is a return I would be happy with personally.

  • http://BN Sacko

    No way..Sweeny b4 Vitters..I don’t think the guy has got it for the majors.

  • Funn Dave

    “maybe the Cubs are dreaming on the possibility of a Vitters/Lake/Schierholtz outfield by midseason”

    That’s the dream scenario? Yikes.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, nightmares are dreams, aren’t they?

      • Funn Dave

        Except on Elm Street, where they’re all too real.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Matt Carpenter contract shows a leap of faith in unproven player- short career not justifying commitment – sets a bad precedent and could burn the Cards …but which is good for the Cubs at least if he fails and Baez wants the same commitment .. Castro hasn’t earned his long term contract — 2 yr plus mutual option for 3rd is fairest type of contract to both sides and keeps player motivated

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Um, he led the league in hits, doubles, and runs last year. He was 4th in MVP, so leap of faith on an unproven player might be a bit of a stretch. He was over a 6 win player last year. He will not replicate his numbers, but he does not have to for it to make sense.

    • bbmoney

      Well he was under team control for 4 more years….so a 2 year deal with an option for a third really wouldn’t have done much.

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