For the last four seasons the Chicago Cubs have had the luxury of sending out one of the best defensive second baseman every day. A man that has a career fielding percentage of .989.
The 2012 Rawlings Gold Glove award winner in a year in which he posted a defensive WAR of 3.7 and fielding percentage of .997. Yet this man should be traded if the Cubs are to improve for the future.
Darwin Barney has been a fixture in the Cubs lineup for the last four years, but this year he has seen his playing time dramatically reduced. This is due to the fact that he has been having immense struggles with the bat for the past two seasons. Barney has never been known for his bat, but on a team that lacks offense as it is, the Cubs cannot afford to have a guy that is a career .243 hitter and is just one year removed from hitting a career worst .208.
Where Barney excels is on the defensive side of the ball in which he has already proven to be a gold glove winner. The Cubs have not made moving Barney a priority, but they should. It is slowing down the development of their young talent. In particular a second baseman that is playing in Triple-A Iowa by the name of Arismendy Alcantara. With Barney still being with the big league club and taking a roster spot it means that Alcantara cannot be called up even though he is hitting .310 and was recently named a Pacific Coast League All-Star.
If the Cubs were to trade Barney it may also benefit his career as he is not playing everyday anymore as he had been accustomed to doing for the past four years. The best fit for Barney would be on a team that has a very good offense but may need help on the defensive side of the ball and someone that can bring leadership. The Detroit Tigers could be a good spot for Barney as they have one of the best offenses in the league but are not very good defensively. Barney would fit with them because he has the ability to play shortstop which is one of the Tigers biggest areas of need. Barney is capable of doing so as he came up as a shortstop and only transitioned to second base when Starlin Castro arrived and took over the everyday job at shortstop.
Trading away Barney would give him the opportunity to prove his worth as either an everyday second baseman or shortstop if need be. It would also allow the Cubs to call-up one of their young prospects in Alcantara and see if he can be a fixture in the Cubs plans. Trading Barney is what would be best for both the Cubs and Barney. It may not be a popular move with some fans, but it is a necessary one.