Blue Jays sign Darwin Barney to major league deal
The Toronto Blue Jays have made their first signing of the Winter Meetings. Second baseman Darwin Barney has been brought back into the fold on a major league contract reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. It is expected to be a one-year deal.
The former Chicago Cub is a defensive specialist, winning a Gold Glove Award at second base in 2012. He was traded to the Blue Jays on September 13th of this past season in exchange or minor league catcher Jack Murphy, but due to his late addition, did not qualify for the playoff roster.
In his brief time with the Blue Jays, Barney made an unexpectedly good impression on the Toronto faithful. Perhaps we’ve got a thing for depth second basemen in this city. Barney hit .304 with 26 plate appearances with Toronto in 2015.
For his career, Barney is a .246 hitter that’s struggled to produce much in terms of power. Much like Ryan Goins, however, his bat doesn’t need to come much further to allow for his glove to truly play. In that 2012 Gold Glove season, his defense carried an OBP of .653 all the way to a 2.4 WAR.
The recent shoulder surgery of Devon Travis is expected to keep him out for at least the opening of the 2016 season. Barney will be given a chance to compete with Ryan Goins in the spring, but under the current roster construction, he likely opens the year as a bench middle infielder.
Barney has appeared in just 22 Major League games as a shortstop, but with John Gibbons mentioning recently that he’d prefer his reserve infielder to competent at that position, it’s not out of the question that he’ll act as an early backup to Troy Tulowitzki as well.