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Darwin Barney could be an option for the Yankees

Dec 14, 2013, 10:01 AM EDT

Darwin Barney Getty Getty Images

Many viewed Omar Infante as the most likely replacement for Robinson Cano, but that possibility is off the board now that he has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $30 million deal with the Royals. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago now wonders whether the Yankees will revisit the idea of trading for Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, as the two clubs have had previous discussions.

Barney is coming off a horrendous season in which he batted just .208/.266/.303 with seven home runs and 41 RBI over 555 plate appearances. While the 28-year-old is considered a strong defender at second base, he’s the owner of a .628 career OPS. That’s only slightly better than Brendan Ryan (.619 career OPS). Not exactly ideal.

Barney wouldn’t cost much in a trade, but the Yankees will likely find more appealing alternatives in the free agent and trade markets. Assuming they want to keep Kelly Johnson in a utility role, they could sign Mark Ellis to play second base and bring back either Mark Reynolds or Eric Chavez as another option to play third.

  1. uyf1950 - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    I don’t see Barney in the cards for the Yankees. As the piece says Reynolds or Uribe are better options and neither should be very expensive (at least by MLB standards) at this stage in their careers.

    • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      That still doesn’t solve the second base problem. The options are very slim. Brian Roberts is by far the most intriguing offensive choice. Losing out on Infante was huge, for a team that doesn’t have many trade options. Cashman may rue his cost consciousness, assuming that was the only reason Infante chose Kansas City.

      • Jason @ IIATMS - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        He also has to rue the team’ slack of cost consciousness, a la aRod, Teix, CC, etc.

        So what does he rue more? Overspending or underspending?

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        Those problems are water under the bridge. Cashman’s job, at least as I see it, is to augment the Beltran, Ellsbury, and McCann signings with surrounding players capable of contributing to a Yankee post-season run. It is a little late, and also too early to be overly concerned about money. Losing Infante was huge. The pitching market isn’t overflowing with available talent, the Yankees still need to fill players at second, third, starters, and a closer/set-up.

        It is later than you think. And outside of Gardner, the only way to fill those spots is by spending cash. Had the Yankees filled the second-base slot, with a quality guy, even if the overpaid, they would have alleviated a big hole, arguably signed the best remaining player outside of Choo, and could move on to other issues. I look at it as a wasted opportunity.

        Who cares if you overpay for a quality guy like Infante, if the remaining resolutions are overpaying for less talented guys at other positions? Money is money, and the Yankees have two choices spend it and compete in 2014 or save, and finish out of the play-offs.

        The team they currently employ is not good enough to make the post season. And how much will that cost them?

      • beachnbaseball - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        Brian Roberts blows. He’s easily injured and his time has passed.

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:57 PM

        Criticism is easy. Give me names of better options.

      • paperlions - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        Franklin could be an option. Not sure if the Yankees have anything Seattle would want. They could even try to get Ackley, who may be cheaper in trade. Again, Drew actually makes a lot of sense for them as a MIF option…since right now they only have viable back up options (Jeter playing SS every day will probably be worse than Kelly Johnson playing 2B every day). There are plenty of non-Phillips 2B options that don’t necessarily represent a downgrade from a Phillips/Infante type of player.

        The funny thing to me about Infante, is the perception about him only because he was the best available FA. If they are lucky, the Royals will get 3 years of average 2B production from him. Which if fine, but not generally some rare resource.

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        Franklin would be the best option, but unless a third team is involved I see no way a deal with the Mariners occurs. As to those other options I don’t see them. Certainly not through FAs. Drew is an option, but with Ryan in the fold, he produces a redundancy.

        Drew could make the switch to second-base, and be serviceable. But defensive success at a new position isn’t guaranteed, and I doubt if he would be better than Infante, and comes with the loss of a draft choice, although at this time the Yanks have frittered away most of that value, and Drew is going to cost them as much as Infante.

        But Infante is gone, and with the options left Drew certainly stands out as one of the better ones.

      • paperlions - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Drew isn’t redundant with Ryan because he is a far better player. That is like saying Infante is redundant because they have Bonifacio.

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        The redundancy issue isn’t just a matter of comparing talents. I have tried to stress this throughout the week, but seems to fall on deaf ears. Playability (to coin a word), enters into the equation.

        Semantics may be part of the misunderstanding but when I use redundancy it incorporates the knowledge that only so many guys can play at one time. Pure talent acquisition can be pretty meaningless if it translate into that talent riding the pine.

        Jeter/Drew brings defensive liabilities. Drew/Ryan offensive ones. It is a doable trio, but it does not optimize their talents.

      • bruininnh1984 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        at this point in their respective careers, i’d have to say that jeter is more of a defensive liability than drew, who is a solid ss, and yes, offensively, he leaves a lot to be desired,

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      I rather doubt that the Yankees are interested in Barney. This story reads as pure speculation by its author.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      Man, Reynolds is SUCH a bad fielder (and baserunner), I can’t help but think that it he ends up having very little value. I think, for most fans (not you, UYF), they see a good hitter and they think he’s a useful player. I tend to doubt it for Reynolds. The fielding/baserunning may be bad enough to cancel out everything he contributes with his bat.

      • rje49 - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:13 AM

        Yeah, but he hits home runs so the Yankees will want him

      • 18thstreet - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        I think they’re going to get a lot of homers out of Ellsbury — 25 or 30. I really do. Does anyone have a spray chart for him, or am I just imagining things? Because I feel like he hits to right field a lot, and usually makes good contact.

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Not sure Ellsbury would be better off trying to take advantage of the short porch. The guy is still a table setter, and his one power year has to be regarded as an outlier. Will he homer more in NY, sure, but 20 or so would probably maximize his talents.

  2. jfk69 - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    How many roster spots are available for infield utility players with good gloves and no stick. I believe they are all filled. Slow news day.

  3. pisano - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Another .200 hitter on the Yankee roster will just make Cashman hated even more than he is, if that’s possible.

  4. markofapro - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Hahahahaha!!!!!!

  5. leylandshospicenurse - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    I think Uggla, Weeks, Hill, and Phillips would be the best options. The Yankees go from the almost guaranteed place the best FA would go to Darwin Barney lol Love it!

    • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      All viable options with the caveat that the primary problem still exists in trade talks. Who do the Yankees have that would intrigue a team that is concerned with winning in 2014. Only Gardner fits the bill.

      Weeks would probably be available, cause the Brewers like Ginnett but comes with the same issue as Phillips; cash. Plus he isn’t a good defender, not terrible but error prone. Uggla is an even worse defender.

      The Yanks are going to have to bite the bullet and either move Gardner or absorb contracts. Weeks isn’t terrible, he is a FA after this year, with an option. But he is predominately a pull hitter, and cannot take advantage of the short porch in right, although the one in left should be enticing to someone with Weeks’ power.

      This is why I still believe Roberts is the play. He has pop can run, is better defensively than Weeks or Uggla, and if, and of course that is a big if, he can stay healthy, could be a real steal for the second base desperate Yankees.

    • dakotaandotter - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      you could probably get Uggla for nothing as long as you paid the whole salary but why would you want him? He’s got two years and $26M left on his contract.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 14, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    The minor leagues are littered with kids who can field but can’t hit. No need to trade for an expensive one. I still scratch my head at the Ryan signing.

    • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      I don’t. He is the best defensive SS in the game outside of Simmons. Jeter cannot play everyday, and should sit in the later innings and let Ryan handle the SS chores.

      One option the Yankees still have, but probably will never consider, is moving Jeter to second and letting Ryan handle SS. It downgrades the offense, but no more than acquiring Barney, and would actually increase the defense.

      Forget about Reynolds as a viable third baseman. He cannot handle it. He made strides as a first baseman, but since he is so one dimensional, he is really nothing but a platoon 1B option, DH or pinch hitter.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 15, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        As it is likely Jeter’s last season anyway, I keep hoping they sign Drew to a multi-year deal. He could play 2B this season and shift back to SS next year (or, as you suggest, possibly move Jeter to 2B for 2014 though I doubt it). It would also help Jeter know that this can be his farewell tour.

      • spudchukar - Dec 15, 2013 at 3:51 PM

        Yeah, Jeter isn’t doing the Yanks any favors by his non-committal future. Maybe he has pure, honest questions to answer, but it doesn’t help the Yanks in their negotiations with Drew et al, when they don’t know how years after 2014 will pan out.

  7. gibbyfan - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Was reading recently that after this year a hige chunk all payroll obligations expire for Boston. Doesn’t bode well for Yanks as while Boston will be able to load up they will still have the AROD Albatross in addition to their ever expanding roster of AROD like contracts to 30++ players. What was that pld saying about when you are in a hole it’s best to stop digging…….

  8. tfbuckfutter - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    I don’t know that he’d be that cheap.

    Barney clearly has the kind of bat Theo Epstein LOVES. It’s just too bad he plays up the middle instead of a corner power position.

    If they could get back a weak hitting corner infielder or outfielder, maybe Epstein would be interested. Do the Yankees still have Brent Lillibridge? He’d be perfect.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      Yeah, what a failure Epstein was. And think of all the weak-hitting players he signed — Billy Mueller, Kevin Millar, David Ortiz. And who could forget those all-field, no-hit middle infielders, like Renteria, Lugo, Bellhorn, Todd Walker. Oh, and that nightmare draft that netted Pedroia. Whatever happened to that guy?

      Most of all, I remember how he lusted after Wily Mo Pena’s glove. What a mistake that was.

      In conclusion, Theo Epstein had no idea what he was doing.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        Hmm…..Edgar Renteria (big money!), Jay Payton, Mark Loretta, Gabe Kapler, Coco Crisp, Mark Kotsay, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo (more big money!), Nick Green, Darnell McDonald, Mike Aviles….all these guys saw pretty significant playing time with the Sox despite all being, at best, slightly-below average hitters and at worst being god awful.

        And those guys you listed you are 100% right about. Ortiz, Mueller, and Millar all ended up being great acquisitions….but a lot of that was luck. Mueller was coming off a down year, and let’s just completely ignore the fact that Ortiz was signed to split time with another AWESOME signing….Jeremy Giambi.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        A Red Sox general manger won two World Series, which is two more than had been won over the last 86 years.

        And you’re debating how good he was at his job. I think we’re done here.

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        You cannot dismiss some acquisitions as poor judgement, and then categorize the good ones as lucky. That is pure hypocrisy.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        I said a lot of the signings he made that turned out well were lucky.

        That’s true of all teams and GMs.

        But you can’t give Epstein credit for David Ortiz turning into a monster when Jeremy Giambi was signed to start over him.

        If you don’t think that’s luck you’re crazy.

      • tfbuckfutter - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        Let’s put it this way….he made a lot of low-risk high-reward deals, and most of them didn’t pan out, but the few he hit on were big hits.

        But let’s also keep in mind that he made a lot of high-risk signings that ended up being cripplingly bad.

  9. anxovies - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    I was surprised that the Yankees did not sign Infante, he was the best option out there for 2B. The $7.25M yr. reportedly paid by the Royals seems modest, considering, and the Yanks could top it. I had thought that the luxury tax cap was out the window after McCann/Ellsbury but I guess that they have recommitted. They may be considering Ronnier Mustelier for 2B. He certainly deserves a chance from his hitting in the minors and he almost made the team last year but was injured during ST. He has been playing 3B and the OF but his primary position when he defected from Cuba was 2B.

  10. uyf1950 - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    It’s refreshing to see all the “arm chair quarterbacks” to borrow a football analogy talk about what Cashman did do, didn’t do, or should do with such conviction. Fortunately I can keep falling back on a comment someone once told me. That is, there is a reason why GM’s do what they do (that includes Cashman) and we do what we do. They play the game for real and we sit anonymously at computer keyboards and computer screens with funny monikers and pretend we know everything. Just so we are all clear I readily admit to being someone who sits anonymously at a computer keyboard and computer screen with a funny moniker and believes he’s right more often than not.
    Have a good day gentlemen and keep in mind spring training is still roughly 2 months away plenty of time for teams to fill holes in their rosters and line ups and that includes the Yankees and other teams as well.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 14, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Don’t be so hard on yourself. Your moniker isn’t that funny.

  11. cackalackyank - Dec 14, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    I would much rather see the Yankees do the almost unthinkable: talk to the Mets about Murphy. We really do not need another guy for the infield that can’t hit .250.

  12. uyf1950 - Dec 14, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    I hate to break it to everyone but the Yankees success or failure in 2014 hardly rest who they may sign for 2nd base and/or 3rd base or who they failed to sign for those 2 positions. Their success rest with much of the following, in no particular order:
    - CC Sabathia rebounding from a very poor 2013 season
    - Teixeira rebounding from his wrist injury in 2013
    - Jeter staying healthy and putting up decent not super offensive numbers
    - McCann/Ellsbury/Beltran duplicating or coming very close to their 2013 season and to a lesser degree Soriano.
    - Nova being more consistently “good” then bad. He showed signs of being very good last year he just needs to be consistently good.
    - Kuroda to be the Kuroda of 2012 and 2013 without tiring out towards the end of the season. That requires managing his innings a little better this year.
    - Lastly they need to find at least a solid middle of the rotation starter to stabilize the rotation.

    Not all of the above needs to happen but much of it does then it wouldn’t matter a “rats tail” who the Yankees sign(ed) for 2nd and 3rd base. The Yankees will be more then capable of holding their own with players already on the roster. Be it any combination of Johnson/Ryan/Nunez/Anna or A-Rod when whatever suspension he receives is over. If much of what I’ve listed above doesn’t happen then signing Phillips or Infante or whoever else for 3rd base wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

    That’s just my opinion.

    • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      And that opinion will land you watching other teams play come October. Here is what I would wager: CC rebounds to a degree, wins 15 games while posting an ERA around 4.00. Texeira’s year looks like .275, and 25 HR. Jeter plays 125 games hitting .275, with a dozen HRs, and plays slightly less than average SS. Ellsbury hits .290, steals 40, and homers 15 times. McCann hits .245 with 25 dingers. Beltran hits .280 with 30 HRs. Nova puts up CC numbers and gets 13 wins. Kuroda puts up identical numbers as 2013, gets 12 wins. Middle of the rotation guy posts CC/Nova numbers and registers 12 wins.

      One of the above falls far short of these numbers due to random chance or injury.

      Assuming Gardner is kept he posts .275 with 10 HRs, and 25 steals.

      Soriano however, posts .240, 20 HRs, and 10 steals. His slide is due mostly cause he cannot find enough playing time as a DH. If he gets more playing time, then his numbers go up but McCann, Texeira/Beltran all decrease by 10-15% cause they do not get to DH, when they need rest.

      Yanks win 84, lose 78, primarily cause they get no production out of the second base and third base position coming in at a league worst in WAR at both spots.
      (cont.)

    • cackalackyank - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      I’m not going to put it quite like spud did, but I did note that you did not mention the Bullpen which is a pretty big question, beyond the ones you listed. I agree those other situations listed are as much a concern as the 2B starter and 3B fill in, if not more so. The problem is there are a lot of external forces in play right now that are slowing down Cashman. We all got a little spoiled by the relative quickness of the McCann/Ellsbury/Beltran dominos falling. The NPB posting change and the A-rod arb decision are still weighing on the decision process, and as you pointed out there are 2 months before spring training. However, my concern is the particular hole in the scheme right now conspires to negate some of the perceived improvements made. After all a disproportionate amount of the production came from 2B last year. Of course this is all on paper for now. Let’s be frank about this. Even if Cano had stayed at the 7/175 offered, given the rotation situation, it would be a stretch to pencil in the NYY for play in October of 2014 right now. To do that we would really have to know, with a great deal of certainty, what Phelps/Pineda/Warren/Nuno et al are bringing to the party, and how Robertson fares as the full time closer.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 15, 2013 at 8:20 AM

        @ cackalachyank and spudchukar, again gentlemen there are 2 months left before pitchers and catchers report to spring training and over 3 months left before the clubs begin their regular season. Plenty of time, let me repeat that plenty of time for the Yankees as well as all the other teams to make changes and adjustments in their rosters. Anyone that thinks the majority of the MLB clubs(including the Yankees) intend to start the season with the rosters they have as of today I believe is mistaken.

        One additional comment at least from my perspective about the bullpen. Is it a concern? Sure, but there are plenty of relieves available even today. Generally teams have been able to upgrade their bullpens up until the last minute and even after the season has started.

        I guess what I’m try to say and have been trying to say all this off season is the Yankees had a lot of holes at the end of the 2013 season and personally I think they (Cashman) has done yeoman’s work in getting the players he has to date. Is there still work to be done, yes and as far as I’m concerned I don’t think the Yankees are done. But we’ll see.

  13. spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    (Cont. so as to not lose post to refresh)

    Neither Phelps nor Pineida have success in the #5 spot, and nobody steps up to fill the role, cause they have no one to do it. #5 spot wins only 5 games posting a plus 5.00 ERA.

    Robertson makes the transition to closer does reasonably well, but he’s no Mo. Posts a 3.50 ERA but blows 8 saves, is demoted briefly, but comes back to record 28 saves.

    However, the Yankees blow another 8 games after leading after 6 because their set-up crew fails miserably. The failure to address these roles costs them dearly.

    Unlike in 2013 when by all statistical numbers, the Yankee win total far succeeded their actual play 2014 tells a different story and their win total matches their projected win total.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      To quote an old Burger King ad “have it your way”. I guess then there is no need for the Yankees to play out their 2014 schedule. You’ve got it all figured out. Have a good day.

      • spudchukar - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        When you fail to address 4 vital positions on a team the net result is as indicated. As to the “got it all figured out”, how is that any different from proclaiming “don’t give a rat’s ass” about those same 4 positions. We disagree. But that is just my opinion. Have a good day, my friend.

  14. dirtyharry1971 - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Nunez should finally be given a full time position, start him at 2nd from day 1 in spring training, end of story

  15. tuucamaron - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    a guy who hits 208 in 555 ab,no god deng way,hell no,who makes this rumors?

  16. sparkyxproof - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    OMG NO . Barney couldn’t hit water if he fell into a pool. A good fielder but patience will run short very fast with his lack of hitting.

  17. sparkyxproof - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Maybe someone can enlighten me why putting Alphonso Soriano back at 2nd Base is not even being thought of ? I their worried about his fielding ? Hell he would be an improvement over Nunez and I think he could handle the move.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Dec 14, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      Nunez just needs a chance to play “1″ position, if they gave him one position to learn he would be fine, in his young career so far he has played 2nd, ss, 3rd, and the outfield. If they don’t think he can play any of these positions they should trade him already cause he is worthless as a utility player and too young to be in that roll

  18. shorttracknews - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Can’t we ban clowns like this who “reblog” stuff to their lame site and then link to it?

  19. cktai - Dec 15, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    The link in the comments is automatic when you reblog something. Why you would reblog instead of writing your own story with a link to the original, well that is another question.

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