According to Bruce Levine, the New York Yankees could revive interest in Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. The Yankees did talk to the Cubs earlier in the off-season about Barney, but were looking at better options for second base. Now that the Yankees options are limited, could Barney be a Yankee by opening day? From the sound of it, Levine may be speculating on talks but it could very well happen if it hasn’t happened already.
The Yankees lost second baseman Robinson Cano to free agency. Cano signed a 10-year deal for 240 million with the Seattle Mariners a couple weeks ago. The Yankees would only go up to 170 million on a 7-year deal. The Yankees were looking at another second baseman and that would be Omar Infante. Infante went to the Kansas City Royals on a 4-year deal worth 30.25 million, plus incentives. The Yankees would only go to 3 years and 24 million. Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds was another option, but didn’t like the cost. The Reds were asking for center fielder Brett Gardner in exchange for Phillips but the Yankees declined. The main reason being Phillips contract and the Yankees don’t want to take all of it on. That’s why Barney to the Yankees rumors is re-starting since there’s not a lot of options left out there.
The Cubs have shopped Barney in the past and would welcome a trade if one seems right for the team. Barney is 28-years old and is arbitration eligible. The Cubs tendered him a contract a few weeks ago. Barney is not known for his offense, but he is for his defense. Barney won the Gold Glove Award for second base in 2012 and was a finalist in 2013, but Brandon Phillips beat him out in 2013. In 2013, Barney played in 141 games, had a .208 average, 7 home runs, 41 runs batted in and only committed 4 errors in the field. In his career, Barney has a .246 average, 408 hits, 130 runs batted in and 19 stolen bases. In 2012, Barney got the bat on the ball most of the time, but in 2013 he struck out more than I could ever believe.
The Cubs will not get much in a deal for Barney by himself. The Cubs could pair him up with another player to get a better package, however. This is speculation on my part, but what about Barney and another player for Gardner? The Cubs need a center fielder and the Yankees have too many outfielders now with the signing of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Do I think it’s likely? No, but it can happen as the trade makes sense for both sides.
In the wake of a deal, the Cubs will move Luis Valbuena to second base and give Logan Watkins time over there as well. Valbuena has been playing second base in winter ball. If Valbuena was to move to second base, we would see Donnie Murphy start at third base and there’s a chance we could see Mike Olt over at the hot corner as well.