Blue Jays 2015 Year End Awards: Biggest Surprise
By Ryan Andrews
Honorable Mention: Darwin Barney (The New Munenori Kawasaki?)
The injury to Troy Tulowitzki was thought to be a blow to the Blue Jays’ hopes of winning the division outright. That proved to be a false belief, but the blow struck by Kevin Pillar had a hidden benefit to the team and it’s fan base. For that injury brought Darwin Barney out of the mists of time and into a pennant race that he was able to impact in such a short stint with the team.
Barney was a former Gold Glover with the Chicago Cubs in 2012 and after that his bat fell off a table. Batting .208 in 2013 cost him his starting job with the Cubs and they traded him to Los Angeles in 2014. He started 2015 with the team but was waived and sent down after just two games. He rode buses around Oklahoma City and was at home in Portland until the Blue Jays suddenly needed a backup infielder. He grabbed his glove and headed up North.
Fans instantly embraced him. Barney enchanted with his dashing good looks:
Barney had a name that led to jokes about science and children’s TV:
Despite not being known for swinging the stick, Barney also joined in on the Blue Jays’ record setting offensive output. He had a slugging percentage of .609 with the team, with two home runs! Three, if the Little League home run in the division clinching win over the Orioles is counted!
With Cliff Pennington moving to the Angels and Devon Travis on the shelf again, the Blue Jays could use some infield depth. They are familiar with Barney, and the fans want him back:
Seeing Barney back in Toronto blue in 2016 would be a pleasant surprise for fans who have accepted that Kawasaki is not the answer at age 34.
Next: Honorable Mention: Surprises at closer and first base..