You just knew the Dodgers would make a move before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline and here it is:
They’ve picked up second baseman Darwin Barney.
OK, so maybe that’s not the deal that clinches the pennant, but I suppose it can’t hurt. He had been designated for assignment last Tuesday by the Cubs and the Dodgers reached an agreement Monday with Chicago for a player to be named later. The Dodgers also received cash in the deal.
It’s a slightly curious move in that Barney is one of those slick fielding infielders who can’t hit, and they already have one of those in Miguel Rojas. And Rojas can play short, which Barney hasn’t seen since 2012, and then for only three games.
There’s no doubt he’s a great glove. Barney, 28, won a Gold Glove two years ago and is still considered perhaps the best-fielding second baseman in the National League.
Of course, he’s also hitting .230, which followed his .208 average last season. Since he hit .276 in his first full season in 2011, the offensive direction has all been south. He is hitting .293 against left-handers, but regular second baseman Dee Gordon is batting .280 against left-handers, too.
That the Dodgers made this move two days after Cuban infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena had that meltdown at triple-A Albuquerque that led to a nasty, benches-clearing brawl may not be coincidence.
And what this means for the ever-rehabbing Chone Figgins may not be clear, but it doesn’t look good for him, either.
Justin Turner’s backup infielder’s role is not going to change, though he’s hardly the ideal defensive replacement for Hanley Ramirez at short. I assume Barney is going to get work at short, if not third, too. Utility seems his new calling.
The Dodgers have a spot open on their 40-man roster, so there’s no problem there. They are off Monday, and will not have to make the corresponding move on the 25-man roster until prior to play Tuesday.