Barney and the Cubs agreed to a one year contract worth $2.3 million for the 2014 season.
After winning the National League Gold Glove for the second base position in 2012, Barney was a finalist for the award in 2013. Though, for as successful as Barney has been defensively; the 28-year old second baseman has been a far cry from being a successful offensive player.
In 2013 with the Cubs, Barney hit .208/.266/.303 to go along with 7 home runs and 41 RBIs. To further highlight Barney’s struggles, the second baseman had a wOBA of .252 last season to go along with a wRC+ of 51 runs.
There is no question that Barney is a valuable player to a baseball team. Barney’s value comes as bottom of the roster guy that can occasionally be used to spell the starting second baseman or shortstop. Barney’s futue in the Majors is not as a starting second baseman.
That future may be reached during the 2014 season. Top prospects Javier Baez and Kris Bryant could be ready to the make their Major League debuts at some point during the second half of the season. Meaning between Baez, Bryant, Barney, and Starlin Castro, the Cubs will need to choose three of those four to start at the second base, shortstop, and third base positions. If Baez and Bryant are going to at the Major League level, they will undoubtedly be playing everyday. Castro remains one of the core players so that would leave Barney as the odd-man out. Unless of course, the Cubs decide to move Bryant to the outfield.
In any event, Barney likely will not be the Cubs starting second baseman for the entirety of the 2014 season.
With Barney signed, that leaves Jeff Samardzija as the only other arbitration-eligible Cubs player that has not signed a new contract.