Darwin Barney is Golden … and Other Cubs News, Notes and Rumors

Darwin Barney turned in a record setting season and was rewarded with a gold glove on Tuesday night. Darwin Barney beat out the Reds’ Brandon Phillips and Arizona’s Aaron Hill for the Rawlings Gold Glove. Barney became just the fourth second baseman in Cubs’ history to take home the award (Ryne Sandberg, 1983-1991; Glenn Beckert, 1968; Ken Hubbs, 1962) and the first since his mentor and former minor league manager.

Darwin Barney saved the Cubs 28 runs with his defense throughout the season and finished the year with a .997 fielding percentage (two errors at second base, three total for the year) in 676 total chances. Barney set the all-time National League mark for consecutive games without an error by a second baseman and his 141 games errorless streak (1,154 1/3 innings) tied him with Placido Polanco for the longest single-season mark by a second baseman in Major League history. During his errorless streak, Barney had more total chances per nine innings (5.30) and more putouts (293) than any other second baseman in baseball.

Darwin Barney gave Ryne Sandberg a lot of credit for teaching him the position during an interview on MLB Network Radio and acknowledged the work he put in the spring and throughout the season with Pat Listach. Barney became the first Chicago Cub since Derrek Lee in 2007 to be honored with a gold glove after a sensational season in the field.

Chattin’ with Bruce Levine
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat Tuesday on ESPN Chicago.com, here are the highlights:

  • Levine thinks Eric Karros, Keith Moreland, Todd Hollandsworth, Gary Matthews Sr., and Dan Plesac will be considered to replace Bob Brenly in the Cubs’ TV booth.
  • The Marlins approached the Cubs about Josh Johnson. Levine has not heard how the Cubs’ responded. Levine thinks Johnson would make sense for the Cubs but not Mark Buehrle. Buehrle’s contract, coupled with his age, might make him difficult to flip.
  • The Cubs have had conversations with the Angels. Levine did not mention the players that might have recently been discussed but his answer was in response to a question about the Cubs possibly pursuing Dan Haren and/or Ervin Santana. Levine mentioned the Angels have had interest in Carlos Marmol in the past. According to a report from Jon Heyman, the Angels are likely to decline the options on both Haren and Santana.
  • Levine would not be shocked if the Cubs traded Darwin Barney this off-season. Levine mentioned the Tigers’ past interest in Barney … and this is not the first time this week that Levine brought up the Tigers asking about Barney before the deadline. During Talkin’ Baseball (ESPN 1000) last Saturday, Levine discussed whether or not the Cubs would deal Barney to Detroit for a young pitcher like Drew Smyly.
  • Placido Polanco is the type of professional player the Cubs would consider signing, as long as he has a movable contract. Polanco became a free agent when the Phillies declined his option. A player like Polanco will be the type of players considered by the Cubs this off-season.
  • Levine thinks the Cubs’ payroll will be around $90-$100 million in 2013. The Cubs currently have around $60 million committed for next season according to Levine.

Carlos Marmol
Are Carlos Marmol’s days with the Cubs over? Bruce Levine mentioned in his chat on Tuesday that the Angels have had interest in Marmol in the past … then Patrick Mooney questioned how much longer Marmol will remain the Cubs’ closer. So will the Cubs be able to trade Carlos Marmol and the $9.8 million owed on the final year of his contract this winter?

After a rough start to the season (1-2 in 31 games with eight saves in 10 chances with a 5.61 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP), Carlos Marmol started listening to the coaching staff and put together an excellent second half (2-1 in 30 games with 12 saves in 13 chances with a 1.52 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP). Theo Epstein pointed out how well Marmol pitched in the second half and pointed to his improved fastball velocity.

Theo Epstein from Comcast SportsNet:

“Big punch-out rate, more strikes and then really significantly he did it in a completely different way. His fastball was really useable and really effective and that hasn’t been seen around here from him, maybe ever. That was a great sign, because I think it’s more likely to be repeated next year. He’s got two really viable pitches now. If he had just been a straight-out slider monster and happened to lock in his slider for a couple months and faced some aggressive hitters, I wouldn’t be as optimistic about him as I am now, because he’s got two weapons to go at hitters with again.”

According to Comcast SportsNet, “the Cubs are trying to stockpile power arms through the draft and build their bullpen from within.” So where does Carlos Marmol fit in?

News and Notes
The Cubs finally announced the hiring of Derek Johnson on Tuesday. The Cubs officially named Johnson their new Minor League Pitching Coordinator.

The Cubs still have several positions in player development left to be filled. The Cubs are expected to announce the coaching staffs for all of their Minor League affiliates in the coming days. The Cubs also have to hire a new Minor League Field Coordinator, Latin America Field Coordinator and up to two spots on the athletic trainer staff.

The Cubs outrighted Justin Germano off the 40-man roster and assigned him to Triple-A last week. Germano decided to test the market on Tuesday and elected for free agency.

Due to the new national television contract signed by MLB, each team will receive an additional $25 million per year under the new broadcast contract.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon