TODAY: Barney would earn $1.25MM in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, with an additional $500K of potential incentive pay. His contract also includes an opt-out opportunity on March 24th.
YESTERDAY: The Rangers announced that they’ve signed veteran infielder Darwin Barney to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training. He’s represented by CAA Baseball.
Barney, 32, has spent the past two seasons with the Blue Jays and seen quite a bit of action at the middle infield positions following frequent injuries to Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki. The slick-fielding Barney has totaled +7 Defensive Runs Saved and a +8.8 Ultimate Zone Rating in 383 innings of shortstop action over the course of his big league career, and those same metrics are even more bullish on his work at second base (+53, +37.3 in 5113 innings). His prowess at second base earned him an NL Gold Glove with the Cubs back in 2012 when he was the primary second baseman in Chicago.
However, for all of his defensive accolades, Barney doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of offensive firepower. In 694 plate appearances with the Jays, he posted an anemic .251/.298/.357 batting line — numbers that only slightly outpace his career .246/.294/.341 slash through 2759 plate appearances.
With the Rangers, he’ll compete for a utility infield job, though he’ll have an uphill battle to climb in that regard as things currently stand. At present, the Rangers figure to have Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor starting at third base, shortstop and second base, respectively, with the out-of-options Jurickson Profar penciled in for the utility spot. Since Profar can’t be sent to the minors without first being exposed to waivers (where he’d obviously be claimed by another club), there isn’t exactly a clear path to even semi-regular at-bats for Barney (barring an injury or a trade). But, he’ll give the Rangers a nice depth option in camp and possibly in Triple-A early in the year.
It’s not a given that he’ll head to Triple-A Round Rock even if he doesn’t make the team, though; many veterans of this nature will negotiate the right to ask for their release during Spring Training into their contract. And, as an Article XX (B) free agent that signed a minor league contract, he’d be owed a $100K retention bonus at the end of Spring Training if the Rangers did elect to keep him around.