According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Chicago Cubs trading a young infielder. We know about how Starlin Castro isn’t considered untradeable- Theo Epstein is willing to trade anyone for the right price- and that logic turns over to second baseman Darwin Barney.
Rosenthal writes that “rival clubs frequently ask about Barney”, but they are not happy with the offers they are receiving. It appears that the Cubs view Darwin Barney as a starter at second base, while the teams asking for him think of him as a utility player and don’t view him as a viable long-term option at second like the Cubs do. Either that, or those teams are “faking” and trying to low-ball Epstein and the Cubs. That’s probably not the case, because most GMs know that the Cubs like Barney and Epstein doesn’t get low-balled.
While the Cubs are willing to trade everyone, Barney is probably not going anywhere. It seems obvious that Epstein and Jed Hoyer value their 26-year-old 2B more than every other team in the league, and that usually means that the player in question won’t be traded. It doesn’t look like anybody is going to give the Cubs what they want, but don’t rule out the possibility of Barney getting traded if a team does get serious and gives the Cubs a “sufficient” offer.
Darwin Barney has been worth 1.2 WAR this season after a 2.2 WAR rookie year in 2011. He’s on pace for a similar year this year due to some more solid defense and improved hitting. He had a 79 wRC+ last year which is subpar, but that has improved to a decent (for a middle infielder) 91 this season. Barney has increased his patience statistics and power this season, despite a drop in BABIP.
The main thing this season is that Barney is swinging more often at pitches inside the zone, and the difference is significant. He has been a bit unlucky this season, so he should end up with a wRC+ closer to 100 than 90 this season. He has made strides as a hitter, and Darwin Barney is a slightly above-average starter at second and can definitely stick at that position. The Cubs are valuing him correctly, and it seems best to keep their improving 26-year-old 2B at this point.