I think we pretty much know Darwin Barney by now.
Barney was picked up in trade from the Dodgers in September of 2015, to give us some infield depth in the last month of the season. He was terrific (in 26 PA), hitting .304/.333/.609.
Then he starts the 2016 season hitting much the same way, playing almost everyday due to an injury to Devon Travis. June 1st, Darwin has played 33 games, and is hitting .344/.379/.467.....and it is tough to remember that he’s a good glove/bad bat. My twitter feed was full of ‘Darwin should be the starter and Devon should be on the bench’.
The second half of the season, Darwin reminds us that he is in the majors because of his glove, not his bat, hitting .215/.279/.333. If you are going to have a good half and a bad half to your season, it’s best to start with the good half. People will remember it.
His defense? I thought it was terrific. He was great at second when Travis was out. He played short when Tulo was out, I thought he didn’t have the arm for the position, but he proved me wrong, he was terrific. And then played third, spelling Donaldson occasionally, and played great defense there.
And he seems like a good guy and good teammate. And really, he has to be a good guy and good teammate, because he wouldn’t have a job if he wasn’t. Utility player’s job is to be the good guy and not rock the boat at all.
The Jays have a few choices for utility infielder, but, since he’s signed to a $2.9 million contract, Darwin will be the guy that gets the job. Even with Ryan Goins being out of options, Barney will be the first choice for utility player.
The only real question we have about Darwin is how much he’ll play and that’s a question we can’t answer. His playing time depends on the health of others. He had 306 PA last year, I’m hoping he doesn’t get that many this year, mostly because I hope everyone remains healthy all season.
He’ll likely get his share of at bats, because Tulo, Travis and even Donaldson could benefit by having a day off, here and there, or in Donaldson’s case a half day where he DHes. And Travis and Tulo
The other question is: Could he possibly hit the way he did in the first couple of months of 2016? I very much doubt it. He had a .800 OPS at the end of May. For June his OPS was .637 and it would continue in that range for the rest of the year. I don’t think it was an injury that turned his bat around. He finished with an OPS+ of 86, roughly in line with his career number of 75. So I’d expect something in that range.