Blue Jays: Darwin Barney brings a ton of quiet value

Mar 3, 2017; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Darwin Barney (18) singles during the second inning against the New York Yankees at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2017; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Darwin Barney (18) singles during the second inning against the New York Yankees at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays won their third game of the season on Wednesday night, keyed by a go-ahead, 2 run single by Darwin Barney in the 2nd inning, a lead they would not relinquish.

The Blue Jays finally got another notch in the win column on Wednesday night, defeating the Boston Red Sox by a score of 3-0 in the second of their three game set this week. The Jays got a solid start from Francisco Liriano and a good performance from the bullpen to hold the Sox scoreless.

The Blue Jays’ bats were somewhat quiet again, but they managed just enough in the game to pick up the win. All 3 runs came in the 2nd inning, and actually were all unearned as well, but that doesn’t matter to John Gibbons and his club one little bit.

The Blue Jays actually had two runners on base because of a pair of errors by Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland, but it was Darwin Barney who came through with the key, two run single to give the Blue Jays the lead. Barney was playing 3rd base on Wednesday night in the absence of the injured Josh Donaldson.

Barney has been here before, and has flourished in the utility role for the Blue Jays since arriving in late 2015. He’ll be counted on plenty at third base in the coming weeks, and he’ll likely see some time at both second base, and shortstop, spelling the regulars on their scheduled days off. He’s no slouch wherever you line him up either, as evidenced by the play you see above, and his 2012 NL Gold Glove award at second base, while with the Chicago Cubs.

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It’s that versatility that made the Blue Jays prioritize bringing him back this season, in addition to other reasons. He’s added the ability to man the corner outfield positions in a pinch as well, expanding his utility arsenal even further and adding additional value at this stage of his career.

The 31 year old has also quietly contributed with the bat with the Blue Jays, performing much better than most seem to remember last year and finishing with a .269/.322/.373 slash line with 13 doubles, 4 home runs and 19 RBI in 279 at bats. So far this year, Barney is now 7 for 18, good for a .389 batting average and 4 early RBIs.

He’s obviously not going to sustain that level of production throughout the course of the year, but Barney is an underrated contributor with the bat, if not both sides of the ball. He also seems to have a knack for coming up with a big hit, just as he did against Rick Porcello on Wednesday night to give the struggling Blue Jays’ offence the lead.

He may not play every day, but the value the Oregon native brings not the Blue Jays does not go unnoticed by the management. Having a veteran who stands at the ready to fill in wherever needed (including at pitcher in 2016, even), and who can chip in all over the stat sheet is important for a successful club, especially over the course of 162 games.

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He didn’t earn 1.8 WAR last season by accident, and the Blue Jays have to be thankful he’s around to help them get through this period without Donaldson. Beyond that, Barney will find ways to contribute throughout the rest of the season, because that’s just what he does.

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