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May 2014

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COMMENTS

How To Fix The Darwin Barney Situation

Written by , Posted in General

In case you were not aware, Darwin Barney hasn’t been performing too well at the plate in the last year or so. Since drawing serious interest from the Tigers at the trade deadline about a year and a half ago, the wheels have essentially fallen off and he’s declined rapidly. I’ve received several e-mails and tweets asking what the Cubs can do to fix the situation and what their options are, so I wanted to take a minute to look at that.

Right now Barney isn’t getting much playing time, at least not on a regular basis. He’s a spot starter and defensive replacement. I wouldn’t call him a pinch hitter as the requirement for that is that you have to actually hit. He’s more of a pinch outer. Some have asked if perhaps he’d benefit from more playing time. There are two places that can happen. Either he gets starting time in the Majors or he gets it in AAA. There lies the problem.

At the Major League level, Barney can play both shortstop and second base. Starlin Castro is having a resurgent start to the 2014 season so to mess with that would be moronic. That leaves his usual second base spot. The problem there is that Emilio Bonifacio has been playing extremely well so far this season and would need to be moved to CF to open up a spot for Barney. It’s not a horrible option, given the play of our outfield so far this season, but I wrote last week that I’d rather see Luis Valbuena get that second base spot if Bonifacio is moved to CF.

That leaves the minor leagues, but that gets complicated. Coming into 2014, Barney had amassed 3 years and 53 days of Major League service time, which is why he was eligible for salary arbitration this past off-season. It also means it will make sending him down to AAA a little more difficult. While he does have three option years left, it will be tough to use them due to secondary option year rules. Because of his service time, Barney must clear revocable waivers before being optioned, and I don’t think he’d go unclaimed. Even if he were to go unclaimed, he’d still need to consent to the demotion and what incentive does he have? Sending him to AAA would be a tough one.

So what do the Cubs do? At that point, I don’t think there is much you can do. I don’t like the idea of playing him everyday as I think we’ve seen what he is, and I don’t think there are GM’s interested in him strictly for his glove. I think you have to wait it out, wait for Bonifacio to regress or Valbuena or Mike Olt to completely suck and then give Barney a chance to jump in there. I know it’s not what most Cubs fans want to hear, so I’m open to suggestions.

MVPAnthony Rizzo (.298 WPA)

  • I pulled up the game late and saw the Cubs had a great 1st inning. I stepped away to do a few things for work and turned the game on and saw the game was now tied, 3-3. I didn’t know who was pitching but immediately thought it was either Carlos Villanueva or Edwin Jackson. I was right.
  • Anthony Rizzo had four walks and a home run. In case you were wondering, that is the 85th time it’s even happened. The last time a Cub hitter did it was 2003, when Hee-Seop Choi did it. Now you know. Here is the complete list.
  • I’m beginning to lose faith in Olt. An 0-for-5 night is not what I wanted to see. The only positive thing we saw at the plate was a RBI.
  • Top 5 Bullpen Alert!!! The pen pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless ball. That will help the crew’s ERA.
  • Jackson picked up win # 2. Jeff Samardzija still has 0. Do you need further proof in the uselessness of the win stat for pitchers?

  • PLCB3

    If we can’t trade him this season don’t tender him arbitration this winter

  • Dork

    I was wondering on the option for moving Barney back to Iowa, thanks for answering that question. I am starting to loose faith in Olt too. He is striking out way too much. He had other oportunities for RBI’s last night where just getting a ball up into the wind drives in a run. It was nice to see Lake hit the ball well last night. The problem with this line up is you are waiting on too many guys. You might be able to hide one guy in a NL line up, but Barney – Olt – Sweeney – Schierholtz – And even Lake are tough to hide on a team carrying an extra pitcher. I give Valbuena a pass because his OBP is 377.

    • PLCB3

      I was wondering about that too. I thought that there were no revocable waivers when sending someone down to the minors. I thought the options existed for good, but that consent was needed after 5 years.

    • AC0000000

      I was wondering about that too. I thought that there were no revocable waivers when sending someone down to the minors. I thought the options existed for good, but that consent was needed after 5 years.

  • Doug S.

    Our active roster currently has 13 pitchers. To me Barney is our infield’s insurance on the glove side with hope on the bat side.

    Sweenholtz have sure been disappointments so far this year. Was hoping for more from those guys.

  • Dork

    The Cubs relievers are currently 8 in the national leage based on ERA 3.62.

    • PLCB3

      Up from last week. Joe said bullpen ERA was 11th in the NL on the podcast

      • Dork

        I dont think they have given up a run since then

      • PLCB3

        I meant the ranking has improved. I think he said on the podcast the bullpen ERA was 3.9 something.

  • Dork

    The Cubs relievers are currently 8 in the national leage based on ERA 3.62.

    • AC0000000

      Up from last week. Joe said bullpen ERA was 11th in the NL on the podcast

  • Dork

    Doesn’t revocable waivers mean that if someone clams him you can pull him back and then try to work out a trade?

    • PLCB3

      I think that that’s the post-July 31 trades. Where he is claimed, the team has 3 options. Pull him back, work out a trade with the claiming team or tell the claiming team the player is yours.

  • Dork

    Doesn’t revocable waivers mean that if someone clams him you can pull him back and then try to work out a trade?

    • AC0000000

      I think that that’s the post-July 31 trades. Where he is claimed, the team has 3 options. Pull him back, work out a trade with the claiming team or tell the claiming team the player is yours.

  • That first sentence is a work of art.

    • PLCB3

      I had no clue about Barney. For you see I have been on Mars for the last 20 years.

  • That first sentence is a work of art.

  • Eddie Von White

    Yes. I still need further proof in the uselessness of the win stat for pitchers. Time has a way of balancing life’s injustices. Smarja will get his wins and some of them will no-doubt be undeserved. Like the guy who gets robbed of a base hit in one at bat, then gets a bloop single in the next.

    • A duck snort, as it were.

      • Eddie Von White

        More like a dork snort.

      • I’ll update my baseball slang spreadsheet.

      • Eddie Von White

        After the wife and kids go to bed, I assume.

      • Eddie Von White

        After the wife and kids go to bed, I assume.

      • Eddie Von White

        More like a dork snort.

  • Kevin

    Can someone help justify the 13 pitchers on the active roster. With Barney and Sweeney its actually more like having 15 pitchers and that doesn’t really help a team with an offense that is way to reliant on 2 1/2 men.

    • Seymour Butts

      No, probably not.

    • Seymour Butts

      No, probably not.

  • Doc Raker

    Joe- correct me if I am wrong. Revocable waivers means you can put a player on waivers and then pull him back before the 3 day waiver period if you want to. Guys are put on waivers and pulled off waivers all the time just to see if trade interest is there, we never hear about it and neither do the players, it’s confidential until it becomes official one way or another. We only here about a waiver deal if a team leaves a player on for the entire waiver period.

    Putting Barney on waivers could facilitate a trade. You said you don’t think Barney would clear waivers and you said you don’t think GM’s would want him only for his defense. It’s one or the other, either someone claims him to work out a trade or he isn’t claimed at all and you send him down to AAA. To me it’s that simple and I would do if I wear King.

    What am I missing other than the Boston Bruins game 1 loss to Montreal in round 2? It’s still 89 1/4 days until football season so I am still interested in baseball and the NHL playoffs, call me silly.

    • PLCB3

      I thought waivers to facilitate trades are for after July 31. When teams will put their entire roster on it to make post-July 31 trades. Because once a player clears, I believe he can traded without any restrictions. There would be no need to put Barney on waivers in order to trade him at this point. I remember in 2001 we tried sending Miguel Cairo and Gary Matthews Jr down to the minors but had to use waivers to do so and we lost them.

      • Silly

        We can trade Barney without restrictions but can we send him down to AAA without clearing waivers?

      • PLCB3

        Real funny Doc

      • Doc Raker

        I thought so, I am glad you were amused also. Back to Barney. I will bet the Cubs have been putting Barney on waivers and pulling him back if someone claims him.

      • PLCB3

        Are you saying that you think that the Cubs have tried the waivers game to send him to the minors already?

      • Doc Raker

        Exactly what I am saying. That information will not make it out of the front office.

      • PLCB3

        What’s your reasoning for this theory?

      • AC0000000

        What’s your reasoning for this theory?

    • Seymour Butts

      Silly.

    • Joe Aiello

      Revocable waivers means if the player is claimed, he can be pulled back.

      • PLCB3

        But then what happens if you put him on waivers a 2nd time? How is it determined which waivers are used?

      • Joe Aiello

        You’re not allowed to pull a player back a 2nd time in a season. If he is placed on waivers again later that season, it’s irrevocable.

      • AC0000000

        But then what happens if you put him on waivers a 2nd time? How is it determined which waivers are used?