The Chicago Cubs have been relatively inactive this off season, outside of signing a handful of minor leaguers, and trading Brian Bogusevic to the Miami Marlins for Justin Ruggiano. That trade, however, might only be the first of the off season as the Cubs are known to be shopping Jeff Samardzija to any team willing to meet their sky high asking price. However the Cubs might also be willing to trade another fan favorite in the right deal.
With Robinson Cano leaving the New York Yankees for a $240 Million payday with the Seattle Mariners, they are in great need of a second baseman. Even though they signed Kelly Johnson earlier this off season, Bruce Levine suggests that the Bronx Bombers (among others) might also be interested in trading for Darwin Barney.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) December 14, 2013
Many Cub fans love Barney, and the defense he provides every game so trading him might sting more than a trade of Samardzija, who fans also love and do not want to see traded. The problem with trading Barney though, is that he will not bring back much of anything in a trade on his own. If the Cubs were to use him as a trade chip on his own, they would be better served just keeping him instead of virtually giving him away for next to nothing. While his glove may be golden, his bat is filled with holes and is seen to be almost an automatic out every time he steps to the plate. His lack of offense will limit any offer the Cubs receive for him. That is where Samardzija enters the Barney trade picture.
Earlier reports also suggested that the Yankees were interested in Samardzija as well, and one would assume that they still are. If the rumors are true about the Yankees interest in both Barney and Samardzija, logic says to use Barney as a pot sweetener to increase the package.
While the Yankees reportedly have interest in both Barney and Samardzija, they might not be the best fit for a trade. The Cubs have stated several times that they want top pitching prospects in any deal they make involving Samardzija, which is one area the Yankees farm system is lacking. They only have two pitchers in their top 10 propects, (7. Ian Clarkin, lhp and 9. Luis Severino, rhp). Other pitching prospects of note in their system are Michael Pineda, rhp, Luis Severino, rhp, Manny Banuelos, lhp, Jose Ramirez, rhp and Jose Campos, rhp. Since I am not in the meetings with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, I am not sure if the Cubs have interest in any of them, but there could very well be some gems in that list.
The Yankees system seems to be more heavily packed with position prospects which, while nice, will not satisfy the Cubs initial asking price for Samardzija. That being said, cathcer Gary Sanchez is their top prospect; even though the Cubs are said to be happy with Welington Castillo, Sanchez might be a good add since the Cubs are pretty thin in the catching department in the minor leagues.
Whether a deal is made with the Yankeees or not, I think Cub fans should brace themselves for a future without either Samardzija or Barney in 2014.