The writing has been on the wall for a while now. Everyone in Chicago knew that Darwin Barney‘s days as the Chicago Cubs second baseman were numbered. Now, even those who are his biggest fans must know that Barney has no future with the Cubs. The picture has become quite clear after all that happened yesterday.
In case you missed the news, one of the Cubs top prospects Javier Baez started his first game at second base for the Iowa Cubs in yesterday’s game, and he was fantastic. From all accounts he played very well. This is a good thing since there have been rumors for a while now that Baez would shift over to second base once he made his way to the Major Leagues. If this prediction came to fruition, that would definitely spell the end of Barney’s tenure with the Cubs.Well, yesterday brought that reality one step closer; which means that Barney’s exit is one step closer as well.
However, Baez will not be up any time soon. At the earliest, Baez will have to wait to make his debut with the Cubs when next season starts, but more likely he will come up once the Super Two deadline passes. That does not mean that his standing with the Cubs is safe until then though, because Arismeny Alcantara has arrived on the scene and he has not sucked.
Alcantara has been something special to watch since being called up just before the All Star break and has played both second base and center field. Of course, Barney can play second base while Alcantara roams center field; that cannot last for much longer though. Emilio Bonifacio will be returning soon, perhaps as soon as Tuesday when the Cubs return to Wrigley Field. That could spell doom for either Alcantara or Barney being on the Major League roster. The Cubs have been pulling all sorts of crazy roster moves to go back on their initial plans to send Alcantara back when Barney returned from paternity leave.They sent down one of their rookie pitchers instead of Alcantara because he would not be needed again until after the All Star Break just so he could stay up just a little while longer.
If Bonifacio does return Tuesday, two players will need to go as I mentioned yesterday. Someone is going to go soon, and for the life of me I cannot see that being Alcantara. I cannot think of any realistic reason why the Cubs would dare consider sending him back to the minors after how he has played since arriving in Chicago. Perhaps the Cubs will pull off a trade of Barney by the time game time rolls around Tuesday night and Alcantara gets to stay; I doubt very much that the Cubs would designate Barney for assignment
Barney’s departure does not have to come Tuesday though, as the Cubs can send another player out to make room, I still think that Junior Lake gets sent out to make room for Bonifacio and Zac Rosscup goes for whoever the Cubs pick to be their fourth starter. The big decision does not have to come until at some point between Wednesday and next week Saturday; which will be the first time the Cubs definitely need that fifth starter on the roster.
Until then, we sit and wait to see what the Cubs pull off.