First, let me address the human side of baseball: Darwin Barney is a great guy and an asset to any clubhouse. Okay, now that's that's out of the way, let me address the reality of baseball: Darwin Barney is a pretty awful offensive player. And that's why, as Emilio Bonifacio was activated from the DL on Tuesday, Barney was designated for assignment.
By all accounts, this move is what's best for all parties involved. I wrote earlier about how I felt Barney would really benefit from a change in scenery, and now he'll get the chance to prove me right. Ideally, the Cubs could still move Barney as part of a trade package, but they really couldn't waste any time in getting a roster spot open.
While he was becoming more expendable by the day already, it was the emergence of Arismendy Alcantara (which, I believe, is Spanish for "linguistic nightmare") that made the DFA both inevitable and necessary. While not as heralded as his fellow farmhands, AA's athleticism and versatility allowed him to come up to Chicago quickly.
A switch-hitting speedster with the ability to play multiple positions (came up as SS, moved over to 2B to accommodate Baez, then to CF to get some run prior to his promotion) is a valuable commodity, and with the similarly-talented Bonifacio on the DL, the Cubs needed the help.
But rather than just step meekly into the lineup to fill a hole for a couple days, Alcantara seized his opportunity and proved to the Cubs that he belonged in Chicago and not in Des Moines. With another home run on Tuesday night, a powerful blast off of the Padres' Blain Boyer, Mendy basically cemented his status.
And it isn't just the power stroke that's got people excited about the possibilities; Alcantara's first AB of the game, a walk, drew rave reviews. After getting down 1-2, actually flinging his bat into the stands above the dugout on one awkward swing, the young hitter dug in and took some close pitches for a walk.
The sample size is small yet, but even in this microcosm, it's evident that Alcantara has the skillset to succeed at the highest level. In fact, his presence might make the Cubs even more keen on moving Bonifacio, as both players fill that super-sub role. Even as more players come up to take OF and middle IF spots, AA can play several days a week by simply rotating around.
I'll leave the statistical analysis of his current performance and future projections in more capable hands, but I sure am excited about the possibilities. You've got to love when a kid kicks in the door like Notorious B.I.G. (sans the .44, of course) and announces his presence with authority.
With Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo established as building blocks, Arismendy Alcantara is giving the Cubs a glimpse of the utopian future many have been dreaming of since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer came to town preaching their wild evolutionary theory of tearing down and rebuilding.
Thanks for reading; if you enjoyed it, please share with others. And if you'd like to be updated on my future posts, and those from the rest of the Cubs Insider team, you can subscribe below.
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
And be sure to like Cubs Insider on Facebook. You can also
Filed under: Uncategorized