Cubs cut ties with Darwin Barney, top Padres 6-0
BY BRIAN SANDALOW For Sun-Times Media July 22, 2014 9:56PM
Updated: July 23, 2014 10:52AM
Designating Darwin Barney for assignment Tuesday wasn’t an easy move for the Cubs. The organization valued his leadership and professional approach, and he’s still one of the game’s best-fielding second basemen.
But it was necessary to push the Cubs closer to the future. They have players on the roster already or coming up soon who need the playing time.
Barney wasn’t getting many at-bats with Arismendy Alcantara seemingly up for good and ready to play every day.
The Cubs parted ways with the 2012 Gold Glove winner before their 6-0 victory against the San Diego Padres and activated Emilio Bonifacio from the disabled list.
They have 10 days to waive, release or trade him, and general manager Jed Hoyer said he hopes Barney ends up with a contender.
“It’s a very difficult day with Darwin,” Hoyer said.
“It gives us a chance to play Alcantara every day in center field or second base. That’s important for the future.”
Barney clearly wasn’t part of that future.
The subject of trade speculation all season, he was linked to teams looking to win now that needed a slick fielder and could stomach his struggles at the plate.
Barney lost playing time to Bonifacio, Luis Valbuena and Alcantara, the first of the Cubs’ top prospects to reach Wrigley Field.
Hoyer said the Cubs are “starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel” as some of the young prospects get closer. When they arrive, it will be part of a new era, and maybe Barney’s exit signals the end of another era.
But Barney’s departure wasn’t easy on former teammates such as reliever James Russell, though he knows it’s part of the business.
“It’s kind of a shot in the [privates], but you get over it,” Russell said.
“You get up, and it happens. We went through it with Jeff [Samardzija] and [Jason] Hammel, but it’s just part of baseball.”
NOTE: The Cubs sent Mike Olt to Class AAA Iowa to make room for left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, who will start Wednesday. They also announced that Jorge Soler is being promoted to Iowa and Albert Almora is going up to Class AA Tennessee.