Results tagged ‘ Darwin Barney ’

12/9 Extra bases

* Besides looking for bullpen help and another starting pitcher, the Cubs are searching for players who will be good role models for the current youngsters on the roster.

“I think people forget how young guys like [Anthony] Rizzo and [Starlin] Castro are,” GM Jed Hoyer said Monday at the Winter Meetings. “They need some positive examples.”

The Cubs are hoping new first base coach Eric Hinske can fill that role as well.

“He did a great job as a bench player and being a team leader,” Hoyer said of Hinske, who played last season for the Diamondbacks. “It was always about having different influences on the coaching staff for our players. You want to have different avenues. [Players] might gravitate toward the guy who has been teaching for a long time, or they might gravitate toward the guy who just came off the field.”

* Luis Valbuena, who led the Cubs with 94 starts at third base last season, has been playing strictly second base in the Venezuelan Winter League. That’s by design.

“We want him to be versatile and he is versatile,” Hoyer said. “[Darwin] Barney can play shortstop, Valbuena can play some shortstop, Donnie Murphy can play some shortstop. We have a really versatile infield and that’s a great thing. We may not have to carry a standard utility guy and can mix and match in different ways.”

Speaking of Barney, Hoyer said he expects the second baseman to have a much better season than he did in 2013.

“It’s a big year for him, no matter what,” Hoyer said of Barney, who batted .208 this season. “He had a down year offensively and he’d be the first person to say that. I don’t think it has anything to do with competition among young players. He wants to bounce back and get back to where he was.

“With him, mechanically and approach-wise, he got caught with some things last year,” Hoyer said. “A lot of things with him isn’t the hard work or the swing, it’s the approach.”

The team does have a promising second baseman in Arismendy Alcantara, ranked No. 8 among MLB.com’s top 20 Cubs prospects, but he will open the season at Triple-A Iowa, Hoyer said.

* Andy MacPhail, who was the Cubs’ president and CEO from 1994-2006, including a two-year stint as the general manager (2000-01), is keeping an eye on how the current Chicago front office is trying to rebuild the organization.

“They have to do it the way they’re comfortable with and the way they think most guarantees their success, and I know that’s what that group is doing,” MacPhail said Monday at the Winter Meetings.

“I have a lot of confidence in that group that they’re going to do it the way they think will most assuredly get them the end goal because that’s the prize, winning the whole thing,” MacPhail said. “We got close [in 2003]. You ultimately aren’t successful until you at least get to the World Series.”

* Outfielder Ryan Sweeney hoped to begin work this week with Hall of Famer Rod Carew. The two worked together last season, and Sweeney said he benefitted from the sessions. Sweeney batted .266 in 70 games with the Cubs, and signed a two-year contract extension on Oct. 8.

* New manager Rick Renteria will get together with his coaches in Mesa, Ariz., this weekend to get a tour of the new facility and start preparations for Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13.

* Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year, recently completed his studies at Dartmouth and graduated with a major in economics. Hendricks was a combined 13-4 with 2.00 ERA in 27 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa.

* Junior Lake is done playing in the Dominican Republic winter league, and those who saw him raved about his outfield play.

– Carrie Muskat

12/2 Roster moves

The Cubs signed infielder Donnie Murphy and catcher George Kottaras to one-year contracts on Monday, and tendered contracts to seven arbitration eligible players, including Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija and Travis Wood. The Cubs non-tendered relievers Daniel Bard and Chang-Yong Lim as well as infielder Mat Gamel, who are now free agents. Lim was not eligible for arbitration.

Besides Barney, Samardzija and Wood, the other arbitration-eligible players tendered 2014 contracts include pitchers Pedro Strop and James Russell; infielder Luis Valbuena; and outfielder Nate Schierholtz. A total of 28 players from the Cubs’ 40-man roster were tendered 2014 contracts, including 21 not yet eligible for arbitration.

With all the moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 37 players.

Murphy, 30, who was arbitration eligible, agreed to terms on a $825,000 deal. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he batted .265. In 46 games with the Cubs, Murphy batted .255 and hit 11 home runs.

Kottaras, who also was arbitration eligible, signed a one-year, $1.075 million contract that includes incentives. Acquired last Tuesday from the Royals in a trade for cash considerations, Kottaras made $1 million last season. He is projected to back up Welington Castillo behind the plate.

According to MLBTradeRumors.com, Samardzija is projected to get $4.9 million in 2014, while Schierholtz is projected to get $4.4 million; Wood $3.6 million; Barney $2.1 million; Russell $1.7 million; Valbuena $1.5 million; and Strop $1 million.

The Cubs already have committed $49 million to six players for 2014 and will be paying $14 million to the Yankees to cover the last year of Alfonso Soriano’s contract.

The Cubs are keeping an eye on the now expanded list of free agents. Last year, they signed Schierholtz after he was non-tendered by the Phillies, and the outfielder became a regular in right field. Schierholtz set career highs in home runs (21), doubles (32) and RBIs (68), and led the team with a .259 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Bard, once a dominant set-up pitcher with the Red Sox, was claimed off waivers in September. At that time, Theo Epstein, who knew Bard from his Boston days, said the Cubs were committed to the right-hander for the long haul. Bard had struggled after the Red Sox tried to convert him to a starter and battled a strained abdominal muscle this season.

When he joined the Cubs, Bard did not get into a game but worked on the side with pitching coach Chris Bosio. They videotaped the sessions, even though Bard was unaware of the cameras as the Cubs hid one in the ivy and another in a door at Wrigley Field.

Bard, 28, appeared in three games in Puerto Rico last month, but retired only one of the 13 batters he faced. He walked nine, hit three batters, and threw four wild pitches in those outings. The Cubs could still re-sign Bard, who made $1.8625 million this year.

Gamel, 28, sidelined most of this season because of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament, was acquired off waivers from the Brewers in early October. Lim, 37, signed as a free agent with the Cubs, and appeared in six games in September.

– Carrie Muskat

12/2 Extra bases

* The Cubs are expected to tender contracts to all of their arbitration eligible players before Monday’s 10:59 p.m. CT deadline. Players not tendered before that deadline will become free agents. The Cubs have nine players who are arbitration eligible, including infielders Darwin Barney, Luis Valbuena and Donnie Murphy; outfielder Nate Schierholtz; and pitchers Pedro Strop, Travis Wood, Daniel Bard, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija.

The main reason teams might non-tender a player is because he is arbitration eligible and due for a raise higher than the team is willing to pay.

This is the third year Schierholtz is arbitration eligible, the second year for Samardzija, Russell, Valbuena, and Murphy, and the first year for Bard, Barney, Strop and Wood. According to salaries projected by MLBTradeRumors.com, if the Cubs tender contracts to all nine players, they’ll be adding $21.5 million to the payroll. The Cubs have committed $49 million to six players for 2014 and will be paying $14 million to the Yankees to cover the last year of Alfonso Soriano’s contract.

*The Cubs have reportedly re-signed outfielder Darnell McDonald to a Minor League deal. He has a career .285/.353/.453 slash line against left-handed pitchers (12-for-28 this season with Cubs). McDonald played in 25 games with the Cubs this season, and was outrighted to the Minor Leagues on Oct. 8. He became a free agent Oct. 15.

* According to FOX Sports and MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal, the Blue Jays have reached an agreement with catcher Dioner Navarro on a two-year, $8 million deal. Navarro, 29, batted .300 in 89 games last season with the Cubs, hitting a career-high 13 home runs, including three in one game, and driving in 34. Navarro was paid $1.75 million last year. The Cubs have signed George Kottaras to be their backup catcher in 2014.

* Steve Wilson, who was the Pacific Rim and Mexico scouting coordinator for the Cubs, has joined the Yankees as the Pacific Rim scouting coordinator/international crosschecker. Wilson pitched for the Cubs from 1989-91.

– Carrie Muskat

11/26 Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all. It’s a time to give thanks, and take stock. It’s also a time for many to eat.

Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney’s favorite dish? His mother’s homemade stuffing. He wasn’t sure what the secret ingredient was but said she doesn’t use a stuffing mix and breaks the bread apart by hand.

“My mom makes it from scratch and it’s the only thing I look forward to about Thanksgiving,” Barney said. “They usually give me the easy job of corn or cranberry sauce.”

Barney also clarified that his mother’s stuffing isn’t the only good thing about the holiday. The second baseman, who lives in Beaverton, Ore., in the offseason, also enjoys getting together with family at this time of year. He does love the food.

“Her stuffing is my favorite thing about Thanksgiving,” he said.

Cubs TV analyst Jim Deshaies said they celebrate with a very traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

“I’m a big fan of turnips while the rest of the clan leans more toward the squash,” he said. “My wife is convinced that there is nothing better than squash and cranberries mixed together. Gravy is my favorite food group, so anything slathered in gravy gets the job done for me.”

Safe travels to all.

– Carrie Muskat

11/8 Happy B-day, Darwin Barney

Katie_Pledge_5_years_old

It’s Darwin Barney’s 28th birthday. Hope he has a happy day. Here he helps Katie Gallo with the pledge of allegiance before a Cubs’ Spring Training game.

10/30 Barney’s numbers

A note to folks upset that Darwin Barney did not repeat as the National League Gold Glove winner: His numbers from last year and this year were rather different. And Barney would be the first to tell you he needs to do better. Brandon Phillips started 151 games at second; Barney 139. The Padres’ Jedd Gyorko posted a .851 zone rating to lead all NL second basemen, Phillips was second at .833 and Barney was seventh at .799. Barney did lead all NL second basemen in fielding percentage at .993. Phillips was first in total assists (428).

Here’s a comparison between Barney’s 2012 stats (when he won a Gold Glove) and this season:

2012
Number of balls fielded: 517
Total putouts: 311
Assists: 418
Errors: 2
Double plays: 86
UZR: 15.0
WAR: 2.3

2013
Number of balls fielded: 425
Total putouts: 236
Assists: 363
Errors: 4
Double plays: 69
UZR: 12.5
WAR: 0.4

Note on UZR Rating: A plus 15 is Gold Glove caliber; a plus 10 is great; a plus five is above average.

Note on WAR: Wins Above Replacement is an attempt to summarize a player’s total contribution to the team in one stat. According to Fangraphs, it looks at a player and asks, if this guy was injured, and he had to be replaced with a Minor Leaguer or someone from the bench, how much value would the team be losing? An MVP gets a six-plus WAR; a solid starter 2-3 WAR. A scrub, 0-1. I understand WAR includes offensive stats, but Barney’s drop off is rather dramatic.

– Carrie Muskat

10/29 Gold Glove results

There was no repeat for the Cubs’ Darwin Barney. Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips reclaimed the Rawlings Gold Glove award in the National League, which Barney won in 2012. Winners of the top defensive award were announced Tuesday.

Barney, 27, and Phillips were finalists for the NL second base honors along with the Dodgers’ Mark Ellis. Barney led the NL in fielding percentage this season, but was seventh in zone rating, which is determined by how many plays a fielder makes and how many were hit into his zone. Phillips, who won the award in 2008, ’10 and ’11, was second in zone rating at .833 behind the Padres’ Jedd Gyorko (.851).

This year, managers and coaches who received the Gold Glove ballots also had an additional packet of statistics as Rawlings collaborated with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) to formally incorporate sabermetrics as a component of the award.

Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt won the NL Gold Glove at first base over the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, who was a finalist for the first time in his career. The Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez, who was vying for his third Gold Glove, and first since 2009, also was a finalist. Rizzo, 24, and Goldschmidt were tied for second in the NL in fielding percentage behind the Rockies’ Todd Helton, and the Cubs’ first baseman led the NL in zone rating (.902).

– Carrie Muskat

10/28 Extra bases

* Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo will find out whether they have won Gold Gloves on Tuesday. ESPN2 will unveil the winners on a special “Baseball Tonight” show, starting at 7 p.m. CT. Both of the Cubs infielders are finalists for the top defensive award. Barney is vying for his second, and competing against the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and the Dodgers’ Mark Ellis.

* Tickets are still available for the 2014 Cubs Convention, to be held Jan. 17-19 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. Go to Cubs.com for more information.

* Rizzo will host his second “Walk Off for Cancer” on Dec. 15 at Pine Trails Park in Parkland, Fla. Rizzo will celebrate five years of being cancer free. Registration is limited to 1,000 people, and costs $30 per person. Last year’s inaugural event raised more than $100,000. For more information, go to http://www.Rizzo44.com.

* Cubs Minor League hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce will hold a baseball clinic for boys and girls ages 9-13 on Dec. 14 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, at Queens College, New York. Kids will get two hours of hitting, plus lessons on fielding, throwing and base running. For more information, contact iapocebaseball@gmail.com.

10/25 Barney, Rizzo Gold Glove finalists

Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney and first baseman Anthony Rizzo are finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove award, announced Friday. Barney, who ousted Brandon Phillips last year to win his first Gold Glove, is one of three National League finalists along with the Reds’ second baseman and the Dodgers’ Mark Ellis. Barney led the NL in fielding percentage. Phillips won the award in 2008, ’10 and ’11. At first base, the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez is vying for his third Gold Glove and first since 2009 (he also won in ’08). The other finalist is the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschimidt.

Winners will be announced on Tuesday at 6 p.m. during a one-hour ESPN2 “Baseball Tonight” show.

9/24 Cubs lineup

Chris Rusin makes his final start of the season on Tuesday as the Cubs play host to the playoff-bound Pirates at Wrigley Field. Logan Watkins will start at second in place of Darwin Barney.

Rusin and All-Star Travis Wood (2.98 ERA) both have ERAs under 3.52. The Cubs look to have two left-handers make at least 10 starts and each turn in an ERA of 3.80 or less in the same year for the first time in 46 years when Rich Nye (3.20 ERA, 30 starts) and Ken Holtzman (2.53 ERA, 12 starts) did so.

Here’s the lineup:

Castro SS
Lake LF
Rizzo 1B
Navarro C
Schierholtz RF
Murphy 3B
Bogusevic CF
Watkins 2B
Rusin P

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