Now that Omar Infante has signed with the Royals, the Yankees may have to turn to the trade route to improve their situation at second base. Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com reports that the Yankees are interested in acquiring Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney.
Barney is best known for his glove. In four seasons and 3672 innings played at second base, Barney is rated as a +12.4 and +40 defender, according to UZR/150 and DRS, respectively. Meanwhile, dWAR and FRAA rate him as a +6.3 defender and a +18.2 defender, respectively. Although he's mainly just a second baseman, defense is not a problem for Barney.
What is a problem, though, is Barney's bat. It's a big problem, in fact. Barney hit .208/.266/.303 with a 51 wRC+ in 555 plate appearances with the Cubbies last season. In his career, Barney is just a .246/.293/.336 hitter with a 67 wRC+ in nearly 1800 plate appearances. Barney, a right-handed batter, unsurprisingly hits better against left-handed pitching over his career, but still isn't all that good, sporting a career 86 wRC+ against lefties and 62 wRC+ against righties.
Barney will be up for arbitration for the first time in his career, and is projected to make $2.1 million in 2014. The Yankees will be paying Brendan Ryan $2 million for the next two seasons and both Ryan and Barney are very similar players: all field, no hit middle infielders. Sure, the Yankees would have one hell of a defensive middle of the infield when Derek Jeter DH's/takes a day off with Ryan and potentially Barney, but the Yankees should be more interested in guys who can actually hit. They have enough guys on the roster who can't hit as it is.
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