This Cub Must Become a Tiger
By: Jeff Riger
It’s no secret that Cubs President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein is willing to trade his entire team. Ok, maybe not everyone, but Epstein has made it clear that if any organization is interested in one of his players than he is listening. And, since the Tigers just finished a 3 game series with Chicago, I find it necessary to write this blog urging Detroit to make a phone call now.
As bad as the Cubs have been this season, believe it or not they do have some players that could help the Tigers immensely. Everybody knows about shortstop Starling Castro, at just 22 years old, he hits for average, has a bit of pop in his bat and seems like he has all the making of turning into MLB’s next superstar. Castro is a guy that every team would be interested in, and make their centerpiece, however there is no way Detroit could get him without giving up every prospect they care about. Castro might be worth them all, but the price is too hefty, so I would count him out. In fact, I believe Castro will still be a Cub this time next year; the team would be silly to trade him
So we move on…
Guys like Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson and Tony Campana are not options for the Tigers either for
various reasons, so there is no point talking about them either.
The Cubs do have a couple of pitchers that the Tigers would be glad to call their own in Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. Garza is a veteran arm that has a career ERA under 4 and had success pitching in the postseason in the tough American League East Division while Dempster is have a tremendous season, sporting a low 2 ERA, however both guys would be tough to trade for, considering I propose another member of this Cubs team that I would like the Tigers to acquire instead…
He is Darwin Barney!
Yes, I realize you may have no clue as to who I’m referring to, so let me explain.
Barney is a 3rd year second basemen for Chicago who just went 5 for 10 in the series against Detroit. The Beaverton, Oregon native has the ability to hit for average puts the ball in play and hardly strikeouts. Did I mention that he plays 2nd base? Yeah, that is a big thing, obviously. Barney is only 26 years old, makes very little money and is not eligible to hit free agency until 2017.
Seems like a genius idea, right?
Like any player, there are some downsides to his game. Barney will not walk, almost at all; he has just over 40 in almost 900 plate appearances. Nor is he a guy that will provide much power, hitting just 5 long balls for his career. However he can field, steal and do the little things that a Tigers second basemen has failed to do so far this season.
I believe that Barney could be the answer to the void that has been left at second base ever since Placido Polanco was run out of town. And, the great thing about a move like this would be that Barney could be here for a while, solidifying him as the first everyday second baseman in what seems like forever. I’m no baseball genius, but it does seems like the majority of successful teams in Major League baseball have an everyday 2nd sacker and Barney seems like a good fit.
I think it also must be said that at age 26, and this just being his 3rd season in the league, there is room for improvement on already an impressive short track record. Last season Barney hit .276 in 143 games and this season his average is well over .270. It also might be fair to expect more patience at the plate and the ability to work a count as time goes on as well.
So what will it take to get him?
The good news is Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos are not the answer.
Sure Barney is a player that any team can use as a so called “glue” guy and is valuable and will only get better, but he will not demand a team’s best prospects. Detroit can afford him. Now the only question is if Epstein is willing to deal him? I would think not, but hopefully Epstein holds true to his word and disagrees.
Bring Barney to Detroit and finally consistency at second base will begin.