As arguably the best defensive second baseman in all of baseball, Darwin Barney certainly has value to an MLB team. That being said, Barney is a light-hitting player, and that is likely understating it. His slash line of .208/.266/.303 last season was absolutely terrible, and that lack of production simply is not acceptable for an everyday player. As of right now, it appears that Barney’s elite defense will keep him as the Chicago Cubs‘ regular 2B this season. That is, unless he is traded.
The New York Yankees have been connected to Barney thr0ughout the offseason. On a team like the Yankees, it is unlikely that Barney would be an everyday starter, but his defense could be valuable in a bench role. New York was not able to bring back All-Star 2B Robinson Cano, as he signed a monster 10-year, $240 million deal with the Seattle Mariners. Replacing Cano’s production at 2B will be impossible for the Yankees, but free-agent additions like Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann should all help pick up the slack.
The Yankees are counting on Brian Roberts, a 36-year-old player with an extended injury past, to handle the 2B position this season. Roberts was once a very talented and productive player, but that was long ago. Due to a laundry list of injuries, he has only played 192 games in the past four seasons combined. The Yankees are playing with fire if they expect Roberts to play a full slate of games this season.
Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman is reportedly looking to add a low-cost infielder before the season starts. To me, Barney seems like a perfect fit. His defense has obvious value, and he has starting experience if (when?) Roberts goes down. Barney also has experience at shortstop, and could easily step in at the position, to give soon to be 40-year-old Derek Jeter a day off. The Yankees are reportedly willing to trade from their surplus at the catcher position, a position where the Cubs lack depth throughout the system.
With Emilio Bonifacio arguably a better option for the Cubs at 2B this season anyways, and hot-shot middle infield prospects like Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara knocking on the door, Barney seems to be very expendable for the Cubs. He would be much more valuable off of the bench for a competitive team like the Yankees. This potential trade would make a ton of sense for both sides.
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