Samardzija and Barney Address Trade Talk

Jeff Samardzija said he would be surprised if he was traded before Opening Day following his start Thursday in Mesa. Several teams had scouts on hand (Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Nationals, Mariners, Diamondbacks) and many of them were thought to be at Cubs Park to see Samardzija. Bruce Levine reported former Cubs’ GM Ed Lynch, who works for the Blue Jays, was at the park Thursday to watch Samardzija. According to Levine’s sources, “Toronto has been the most aggressive team in the pursuit of Samardzija.”

Samardzija was asked about the scouts in attendance Thursday. Samardzija said, “You’re not really worried about it too much. You’re assuming they’re there every game, regardless of the situation. You want to put on a good show for them. If anything it puts a chip on your shoulder. It makes you want to go out and prove yourself even more and that’s the thing about this game. You’re constantly having to prove yourself. It doesn’t matter what your contract situation is or anything like that. The only thing that matters is proving yourself that day against the team you’re playing.”

Samardzija had a good outing Thursday after the first two batters he faced reached base. Samardzija worked out of a first and third, one out jam by striking out Aaron Hill and Eric Chavez swinging then faced the minimum in his second inning of work.

Jeff Samardzija and Welington Castillo are apparently on the right page. Samardzija told the beat writers he has worked exclusively with Castillo this spring. Samardzija said, “The way he’s (Castillo) improving is unbelievable.”

Darwin Barney

Rick Renteria quieted the Darwin Barney trade rumors, at least for a couple of days, after Thursday’s spring opener. Renteria said he envisions Barney as his starting second baseman on Opening Day.

Renteria told the beat writers he sees Emilio Bonifacio as a utility man and plans on using him the same way the Angels used Chone Figgins for many years. Renteria has done the research, according to Mark Gonzales, on whether Starlin Castro or Emilio Bonifacio would be better at the top of the Cubs’ lineup. As Gonzales reported, Bonifacio owns a .327 OBP (1,075 PA) as a leadoff hitter in his career while Castro has a .345 OBP (524 PA) hitting at the top of a lineup.

The Yankees have reportedly been interested in Barney for quite some time and the Royals have been connected to Barney as well. The Mets could be checking on Barney due to their need for a middle infielder.

The Cubs know that if the team gets off to another slow start, the front office will unload any trade pieces by July 31. Barney told the Sun-Times, “The reality is if you don’t perform well as a team, things are going to change around the deadline. So we take care of business on the field and when we’re at bat. You stay focused and work and worry about your job today.”

Darwin Barney is in a tough spot. Barney is coming off a horrible year at the plate. The Cubs signed a player before camp that could take his job while Arismendy Alcantara and possibly Javier Baez are coming fast from the minors.

News and Notes

According to a report from Mark Gonzales, the Cubs plan on using Welington Castillo as the team’s DH “more often” this spring. The Cubs are monitoring his workload behind the plate and would like to limit his time behind the dish this spring in order for him to have more endurance for the regular season.

Kyuji Fujikawa threw his second bullpen session Thursday. According to multiple reports, Fujikawa threw 25 pitches off a mound without any discomfort.

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  • raymondrobertkoenig

    That there are trade rumors about Barney is funny.

    • Tony_H

      Why?

      • BillyFinT

        Because the second baseman has a name that reminds you of a farm. Some fans don’t care where the foods came from.

      • raymondrobertkoenig

        The Cubs were strongly considering non-tendering him at the deadline. No team will give up much for Barney. If traded he’d have to be packaged with another player or two.

        • Tony_H

          They didn’t non-tender him and even if they did it would have been about salary not trade value.

          Tony Campana brought back 2 young arms and he can only run. Barney has a gold glove and is a team player. His bat is not going to force his way into a lineup, but a team that has enough offense and needs a middle infielder to shore up their D, he is the guy. He has trade value, but I see them waiting until during the season to trade him and they will try to find a time frame when he is hitting well.

          • raymondrobertkoenig

            I respectfully disagree.

          • cubtex

            I respectfully agree with you.

          • Zonk

            I agree with Tony; Barney has trade value. He can play a good defensive SS in addition to crazy-good 2B. Everyone forgets he was basically league average offensively at 2B in ’11 and ’12; last year he was hurt by an insanely low .222 BABIP. Barney could hit exactly the same and add 70 points to his BA just by getting average luck. He works hard and sets a good example.

            Selling him short is not smart; he’s not a star, but smart GMs know he isn’t a .208 hitter either

          • cubtex

            He is a sure handed non-athletic middle infielder who will field everything he gets to but doesn’thave great range. Have you seen him cover 2B on some steal attempts???He is still not great at turning a double play and he can’t hit. This saber talk with BABIP and league average WAR is a bunch of BS. No matter how you slice it….he is not an everyday starting 2B on a playoff team. That is the simple truth of what Barney is. He won’t bring back much.

          • mutantbeast

            I dont agree with you often, Tex, but with Barry Rubble you have him correct. Hes overrated defensively, cant hit or get on base. Maybe the 28 Yankees could use someone like him. This team needs to get rid of below average talents like him.

          • Tony_H

            I think you mean the 27 Yankees, but Lazzeri was not going to be benched for Barney as Tony hit 309/383/482 in his second season.

          • Eugene Debs

            Lifetime .298 OBP. .246 average (with annual declines since a career high). No power. Great glove. I’d pass.

          • cubtex

            there is a reason why bad hitters have low BABIP.

          • cubtex

            good comparison to Campana. Both players have 1 tool. Campana has dynamic speed and Barney has the steady glove. Neither offer much more.

          • Tony_H

            So why do you think he has little trade value, when he obviously does have trade value. I am not saying they are going to get a stud pitcher or even a back of the rotation type, but I do believe the Cubs will get 2 young arms similar to the Campana deal, except I would expect them to be a little older.

          • cubtex

            Here is what I would consider what Barney would net. Say the Yankees inquire as depth for the middle infield. Jeter and Roberts(insurance) Yankees have young catching depth and the Cubs could definitely use some. Austin Romine for Barney. That is about the type of value that I see Barney having.

          • Tony_H

            Glad you won’t be the one negotiating on the Cubs behalf :)

          • cubtex

            It’s Darwin “Freakin” Barney. lol

          • Tony_H

            You are basing it on what we know right now, not what a team in June or July who just lost a middle infielder for the rest of the year would offer.

          • cubtex

            We won’t agree. You think he has this added value because he won some hardware 2 years ago. Teams know who he is. Below average range. Doesn’t turn the DP exceptionally well. Can’t hit. Time will tell if and when he is moved and we can discuss it then.

          • Tony_H

            I actually agree that we won’t agree on what the return will be in a fictitious trade that may or may not happen.

            But what I know you know is that he has trade value (Austine Bromine is what you think his value would be from the Yankees) we just disagree on the final price.

            Of course not many fictitious trades ever come true,because real trades only happen with real negotiations.

          • Eugene Debs

            Maybe we can get some “inventory” for him and “roll forward the savings.”

          • Tony_H

            I know you are being sarcastic, but Barney will not be a starter much longer (thankfully) and that is what we want back for him is pitching inventory and while we are at it to save his salary from the 2nd half of the season.

          • cubtex

            why always pitching inventory? They need catching. They could use outfielders. They can add surplus at many other places besides pitching. What is the point in getting back a mediocre pitching prospect in A ball that has a snow balls chance in hell of ever making it when you might be able to get a useful position player back instead.

          • Tony_H

            Never said mediocre pitching prospect. Always need more arms, we are fine with ok depth at catcher and are not going to get the elite catching prospect for Barney.

          • cubtex

            cmon Tony. Who will give up a projectable pitcing prospect for Barney? You can get a decent pitching prospect for Shark but not for a utility infielder.

          • Tony_H

            Not a Top 10 prospect, but one with upside. I think I will let the real GM’s decide his value though.

          • cubtex

            exactly and I will bet you will be disappointed. It will be a Brett Marshall type or Liam Hendricks. The type of arms other teams dropped off the 40 man who have worn out some of the “prospect” label

          • Tony_H

            I really doubt it. They will go with much younger before they take a AAAA pitcher like that.

          • cubtex

            as we both have said. Time will tell but I bet you will be disappointed with what he brings back.

          • Tony_H

            You already said that, have you really already put down a few :)

          • Ripsnorter1

            Mr. P. R. for the Cubs, aka Tony Hall, will never be disappointed with
            a Team Theo trade. Come on, man! Don’t you know by now?

          • Ripsnorter1

            WIth Theo pulling the trade strings, you never can know
            what he’ll pull in for Mr.Barney. Why, Theo netted the Yanks
            #25 best prospect for $18 million and Alfonso Soriano, who led
            all of MLB with slugging percentage and HRs in the 2nd half of 2013.
            It was a pure haul for the Cubs! Black will never see the inside of Wrigley,
            and Steinbrenner in NYC is enjoying his $18 million dollar haul.
            And Theo is a pure genius!

          • John_CC

            If we are talking about the Yankees we most likely won’t have to wait that long, they may loose both of their middle infielders any day!

          • cubtex

            yea. Jeter and Roberts stay pretty loose. They are veterans and don’t tense up.