One question the Chicago Cubs have to ask themselves, is second baseman Darwin Barney worth a 1-year contract to avoid arbitration or should he be non tendered?
Viewfromthebleachers twitter feed says he has heard or seen a rumor the the Cubs could non-tender Barney. Teams have to offer players their arbitration numbers next month or have to decide to non-tender the player.
Barney is one of the best defenders at his position, but his offense isn’t up to par with the best in the MLB. Barney was a finalist this season for the Gold Glove Award and won the award last year. Barney struggled to get on base last year and finished with a batting average of just .208. Barney’s spectacular defense does out-match his awful offensive numbers. At the very least, Barney is just a utility player and not a starter by any measure.
Barney is still only 28-years old, but there’s not much improving from him and should come off the bench. This winter will be Barney’s 1st year of arbitration. Barney will make about 2-3 million this year.
The Cubs have a few options with Barney.
In which does not include non-tendering him. The Cubs could throw him into a trade with another player. Jeff Samardzija or Edwin Jackson for example. Another option could be to tender Barney a contract and use him as a stop gap until the Cubs are ready to call up second baseman Arismendy Alcantara from the minors. Alcantara has turned into a great prospect for the Cubs and on the fast track to the minors. Last season, Alcantara batted .271 with a .352 on-base percentage, 15 home runs, 69 runs driven in, 62 walks, 31 stolen bases and struck out 125 times. Alcantara will either start the season for Double-A and get a fast call-up to Triple-A or start the season in Triple-A out of spring training. I do expect to see Alcantara on the team next year at some point. We could see a infield of Anthony Rizzo (1B), Arismendy Alcantara (2B), Starlin Castro (SS) and Javier Baez (3B) by the all-star break.
For 2-3 million, I can’t see the Cubs non-tendering Barney. I could see a trade and a stop gap could be the best logical guess. 2-3 million is even cheap for a utility player now a days. By seasons end, Barney will either be traded mid-season or end the season as utility and coming off the bench.