Cubs: Darwin Barney is pulling out all the stops

Cubs: Darwin Barney is pulling out all the stops
February 14, 2014, 11:45 am
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CSN Staff

Darwin Barney is doing everything he can to regain the success he had early in his big-league career.

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The Cubs second baseman has always been more heralded for his defense — including a Gold Glove in 2012 — but he hit a serviceable .265 with a .660 OPS over the first two years in the big leagues. Last year, those numbers dipped to .208 and .569, respectively.

From 2011-12, Barney racked up 6.4 WAR (by Baseball Reference's metric), including 4.2 WAR on defense. Last year, the 28-year-old veteran had a -0.5 total WAR, thanks to a -1.7 offensive WAR.

So how can he turn things around?

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In addition to some offseason work with new hitting coaches Bill Mueller and Mike Brumley, Barney is also watching what he eats.

"In the past, I've always tried to gain weight and eat as much as I could," said Barney, who is listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds. "This year, I don't know maybe I'm getting a little older, but I had to watch my carbs.

"I tried to get back to the weight I was at a few years ago and maybe be a little more agile on defense and stuff like that. Hopefully that will help."

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Barney heads to camp atop the Cubs' depth chart at second base, but the organization has a large group of infielders that could push him, including veterans Donnie Murphy and Luis Valbuena. Top prospects Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara will start the season at Triple-A Iowa, but they could make things interesting later in the year.