7/22 Cubs go with Alcantara

The Cubs’ youth movement is underway with the team’s decision to stick with Arismendy Alcantara and say goodbye to Darwin Barney, who was designated for assignment Tuesday.

“It’s time for ‘Mendy’ to play,” GM Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “He’ll play second, he’ll play center. I think he’ll be in the lineup every day. One of the things we feel strongly about is that when we do bring guys up, they here to play. We’re not going to bring up these guys who are part of our future to share time on the bench.”

Alcantara was called up from Triple-A Iowa on July 9 when Barney went on paternity leave, and was batting .286 in his first eight games. He will play both second and center field, switching with Emilio Bonifacio, who was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, which prompted the need for a spot on the roster.

“We don’t expect [Alcantara] to come up here and set the world on fire,” Hoyer said. “I think he’ll have some great series like he had, and he’ll have some struggles like he did in Arizona (when he went 1-for-12). That’s part of the process and it’s part of the process for every one of the young guys we bring up, as Starlin [Castro] and [Anthony] Rizzo can attest to.”

Alcantara and Bonifacio are interchangeable at the top of the Cubs’ order, too, as both are switch hitters, and both have speed.

Barney was DFA’d to make room for Emilio Bonifacio, who was activated from the disabled list. Barney, 28, was batting .230 with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 16 RBIs in 72 games this season. He won the Gold Glove in 2012 after tying a Major League single-season record with 141-consecutive errorless games.

“I think he got out of whack mechanically last year,” Hoyer said of Barney. “I think he’d be the first person to admit that. He got pull happy and struggled to get back to what he’d been. I think he can get back there. A change of scenery and maybe an offseason, I think he can get back to that. He’s at his best as a pesky player, hitting balls the other way. When guys get pull happy and power happy, it can hurt him.”

— Carrie Muskat


Now that Barney is gone, the future of 2B lies with either Alcantara or Baez….or Russell…….and if those guys cannot hold that position down for the next 12 years for the Cubs, then it is back to square one.

Russell won’t be a second baseman. He’s the best fielding SS in the system right now. If he makes the Majors as a Cub, he will be a SS and everyone else will move to accommodate him.

i wouldnt say thats a guarantee but lets just say we have nice flexibility with our position players.

I’m with you Petrey – there are no guarantees. I suspect not one of us have ever seen Russell play. I’ve read that he is the best fielding SS, but I have also read that he’s likely to grow bigger so his best spot is third. Everyone has an opinion. My guess is that either Russell or Baez or Castro will ultimately get traded. Anyway, it is a fun time to be a Cub fan!

I’ve seen Russell and Doug is right. He’s the best fielding SS in the Cubs system

From what I “hear” on the radio, what I read….Bryant is destined for RF, IF Russell is indeed THE SS of the future for the Cubs (no reason to think differently, right?) then that leaves 3B as the landing spot for Castro or Baez, especially if Alcantara locks up 2B. Alcantara may wind up in CF pushing an outfielder to be traded? ALL this is GREAT speculation and it is a wonderful feeling knowing our Cubs have quite a few options….FOR IMPROVEMENT!!! It may be just what the doctor ordered to get me commenting again Carrie…somebody ain’t gonna be happy…
Carrie, are you enjoying all the minor league excitement more than ever??? It must be very satisfying writing about such POSITIVE developments?! Hope you are having fun!!

I’m guessing Bonifacio will be traded soon and Alcantara will settle in at 2B for the remainder of the season and his performance will help determine who will man 2B next season. We should be pretty excited about all the available players and their ability to move around the playing field. It’s been a long time since we can say the pipeline from the minors is ready to feed the ML club. Good job by Theo and Jed.
A few free agent stud pitchers away from contending next year??? Maybe?? I can hope…

So Castro to third, Addison SS, Baez 2nd – I could see that. Although I’d still think one of them gets traded.

I really don’t see any of the young talent being traded… at least the top guys. Until we see more from them. I think the you will see the big money spent on pitching that way its not costing you prospects. For example David Price…. Could we trade for him? Absolutely but its going to cost two of our top5-6 prospects plus wild card fillers if not more. Then on top of that we are still going to need to sign Price to that big time extension. When if we just wait for FA we have the option of Lester, and Scherzer this year plus numerous 2nd tier pitchers like Masterson, Liriano, SHields, Johnson, Anderson….. 2016 Price, Cueto, Lincecum, Shark, Zimmerman, etc etc….. The point is yes these guys are going to cost us a serious amount of money and some of these guys are going to get resigned before FA BUT there are always arms out on the market that we can get each year. The model has worked out pretty well so far in all the “project” arms we ahve taken on and flipping them. I now see us signing the arms to be in a winning rotation. Some traded for prospects some added just for depth. But all it is going to cost us is MONEY. That is key. Not all our prospects will pan out, there is no doubt about that but the risk of trading our assets away and still having that big time money just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Ever? I don’t think anyone is going to be traded during the season. Maybe not in the offseason (although that’s more likely). But by next year’s trading deadline I would expect either Baez or Castro to be traded. Something that resembles the Cashner for Rizzo trade, except in reverse.

I have some questions about Barney`s contract. I assume his Cubs contract is guaranteed, meaning if he sits home for the remainder of the season, he`ll receive checks just as if he were active. But what if he is signed by another mlb club betwixt now and the end of the season? That new club will extend a new contract, no doubt. How does that affect his Cubs` contract? Will he collect on both? Does anyone know? Forgive me for my ignorance with this matter. It is not my bailiwick.

Barney is guaranteed his full amount. If the Cubs trade Barney, the team that trades for him will assume the rest of his contract (minus any agreed amount that the Cubs will chip in, just like they did when they traded Soriano last year). If no one trades for Barney and he becomes a free agent, then the Cubs owe him all that’s left on his contract (approx $1 million) and he can also sign anywhere for any amount (usually, players who do this will sign for the prorated minimum with their new teams since they are already getting paid by another team). If that happens, then he will get his money from the Cubs plus the money he agreed to with his new team. Once this year is complete, the Cubs will not owe Barney any money and any contract or arbitration award he gets from a new team will be fully their responsibility.

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Thanks for that, sir. It surely would be advantageous for Darwin to become a free agent. I think we have already been told that status will be reached ten days after he has been Designated for Assignment, provided a trade could not be consumated during that short time period.

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