Ever since joining Twitter, I’ve been privy to various lines of fun discussions involving sports, the Cubs, and many other different topics. Tonight it seemed that George Ofman had a piece about Cubs fans being overly optimistic. Rather than focus on the fact that many Cubs fans know this team probably won’t make the postseason, nor will it necessarily be “good”, let’s focus on a wee slip of the tongue that poor George had in his blog:
— George Ofman (@georgeofman) February 26, 2013
Oh darn. Too good to be true. Anyway, I think that George was just firing a preemptive strike against the 1% of Cubs fans who still think the 2013 team has a snowball’s chance in Hell of making the playoffs. I’d be happy if they won more than 70 games, myself, and there are indications that they could win as many as 77 (or even more than 80). But most Cubs fans aren’t lobotomized and realize that it’s a long shot at best. But let’s focus on the idea of Ian Barney.
Separately, the much-despised Ian Stewart and the critically acclaimed legend-in-the-making Darwin Barney aren’t that imposing. Darwin is, of course, a superb defender and his value (especially at a premium position at second base) is tied heavily into his stellar fielding. Ian has major issues staying healthy but has a good eye at the plate and beaucoup power if he can actually get bat to ball. If he can get healthy and stay healthy, though, Ian has 20-homer power and also defends the hot corner ably.
Now let’s pretend we have a Voltron-machine that can take player attributes and amalgamate them into one super player. Let’s keep Darwin’s stellar defense and put in a bit of Ian’s power. You’re not going to get Joe Morgan, or even Ryne Sandberg, but you’ll get something that’s better than Darwin now (more pop in the bat = more value) and a lot better than Ian (2B > 3B, even though I know we need a third baseman badly especially after Aramis Ramirez left us). The kind of funny thing is that if you just have a moderate increase in power while keeping the superb defense, the fear of that power will lead to an increase in the on-base percentage, and then suddenly you have…Brandon Phillips. Isn’t that crazy? Ian Barney = Brandon Phillips, but with a Gold Glove (*blows raspberry towards Cincinnati*).
Ian Stewart may not be long for the Cubs if he doesn’t get healthy soon and start producing, but Darwin Barney has a chance to maybe add a bit of power. He’s not that young either–this will be Darwin’s age 27 season. But we’re not asking him to show Jeff Kent power. If he can get to about 10-15 homer power per season, that OBP should go up, and then we can see the legend of Ian Barney come alive. Don’t hold your breath though, I doubt opposing pitchers are going to fear Darwin Barney anytime soon.