Much has been talked about a possible replacement for Darwin Barney, who could either be traded or non-tendered by the organization after slashing .208/.266/.303 in 2013, but even though a trade could a young player in return, the Cubs would be wise to replace him with someone who’s already on the the 25-man roster.
That player is no other than infielder Luis Valbuena, who already played at second base with the Cleveland Indians back in 2011.
Valbuena had most of his plate appearances playing at third this past season and even though he only hit .218, his OBP was .331 and he also added 12 HRs, which is an upgrade over the former Gold Glove winner. His bat plays much better at second and given the fact that he already has experience in the position, it wouldn’t a dismal change over what he has been doing in recent years.
Moving Valbuena to second could also have implications towards the future. With Valbuena and possibly Donnie Murphy at second, the third base job is open for Mike Olt to break camp with the team out of Spring Training. In the case that the former Texas Rangers prospect is unable to get to the big leagues, highly-touted prospects Kris Bryant and Javier Baez could be up sometime next year to lock up the position for the foreseeable future.
It’s clear the Cubs need offense if they want to improve towards next season, and playing Valbuena at second would be a great move for both the present and the future of the organization.