The Chicago Cubs designated second baseman Darwin Barney for assignment today to make room for outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, who came off the DL today. This could be a sign that the Cubs are ready to stick with rookie Arismemdy Alcantara, who made his debut two weeks ago while Barney was on paternity leave. In any case, it seems the Cubs are finally ready to let go of the declining infielder.
Darwin Barney was a great defender for the Cubs, scoring a Gold Glove in 2012 and tied the MLB record for most consecutive errorless starts at second base with 141 games. Unfortunately, his offensive stats have declined in recent years. In his first full rookie season, Barney had an impressive average of .267 in 143 games, but he has declined over the last two seasons, recording a measly .208 in 2013. Barney has batted just .230 in 72 games this season, while also declining in OBP with a .265 this season, the lowest of his career. The Cubs will now have 10 days to either trade, release, or place Barney on waivers.
The Cubs will now bring up Emilio Bonifacio off the DL after an oblique strain cost him a month from the season. Bonifacio will most likely return to center field, switching Junior Lake back to left and Chris Coghlan back to the bench. Bonifacio is averaging .261 this season with 14 extra-base hits and a .307 OBP. Bonifacio is also the Cubs’ leader in stolen bases with 13.
Arismendy Alcantara will now most likely take the job for Cubs second baseman, as Barney’s paternity leave was testing ground for the 22-year-old rookie. Alcantara is batting .286 in 8 games with six extra base hits. Alcantara has also had an impressive season in the minors too, hitting .307 with 46 extra base hits in 89 games with the Iowa Cubs.
In any case, it seems that the Cubs are thoroughly invested in having the switch-hitting Alcantara start for the remainder of the season, and that the time of Darwin Barney has come to an end on the North side.